There is one question that mattered more than any other for Dietrich Bonhoeffer and it pressed upon him throughout his life right to the end. Who is Jesus Christ? It was as if he stood with the apostle Peter hearing Jesus ask him personally, “Who do you say that I am?” How one answers that question was decisive for Bonhoeffer. Today, it remains as decisive for us in a postmodern, post-Christian world as it was for Bonhoeffer in the totalitarian world of Nazi Germany.
When he was addressing the question, the church in Germany was confronted with the rise of Nazism and the deliberate, systematic annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, mentally disabled people and nearly anyone else who did not fit into the Aryan future.
One of the reasons we remember the witness of faithful martyrs is to learn the things that require faithful repentance, as well as those things that stir up renewed devotion. If the witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer encourages us, we will also turn away from practices that contradict the gospel and Jesus Christ.