Pope Leo X had promised an indulgence to all who ascended Pilate’s staircase on their knees. These were the steps said to have been descended by our Savior upon leaving Pilate’s judgment hall. (How the steps were conveyed from Jerusalem to Rome is another matter.) The young Luther was on business in Rome and began to climb the steps on his knees, praying at each step, when suddenly a voice seemed to thunder at him: “The just shall live by faith.” Luther sprang to his feet and ran down the steps in shame and horror. Romans 1:17 never lost its power upon his soul.
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