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Beatitudes / All Saints’ Sunday – Matt. 5:1-12

November 6, 2011

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Matthew 5:1-12


To be a disciple of Jesus means to be blessed.  Blessed by His Cross and His resurrection from the dead!  To be blessed by Jesus is to be given a life from Him as the crucified and risen one!


Nine blessings today to you from His lips. 


And with each blessing from Him to you the gap between you and crowds widens!  The Lord’s blessings are quite a puzzle and scandal to the world around you.  Most people don’t want any part of Jesus’ blessings given through His Word today.  But not you.  You are here to be blessed by the Lord.


“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Poor in spirit.  Who are the poor in spirit?  Those who look to Jesus for everything spiritual!  The poor in spirit have no spiritual power in themselves.  The poor in spirit are nothing!  Jesus is everything!  The poor in spirit are only spiritual beggars!  All they have is Jesus!  Jesus is all that they need!


And buried deeply within this spiritual poverty is an immense treasure possessed by faith in Jesus:  the kingdom of heaven!  The kingdom of heaven!  That’s Jesus!  He is the heavenly King!  And He reigns!  For you His baptized disciple!  With His bloody wounds for all to see!  He reigns over you with His Good Friday blood bought forgiveness.  And from His royal forgiveness or pardon comes life and salvation!  The fruit of His absolution will be the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  This is His blessing for you, the poor in spirit.  Yours is the kingdom of heaven!  Now and forever!


“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”  We know that we live in the end times.  We, as disciples of Jesus, do not believe the seductive lie that personal and worldly utopias can be achieved through radical individualism and ironically her handmaiden collectivist tyranny. 


Disciples mourn because they refuse to be in tune with the world!  You mourn because you refuse to accommodate to her standards!  You mourn because you refuse to sing “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace!  You mourn because the day of judgment is coming when Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats — and no one in the world gives a rip.  The world believes there will be no end.  So it’s, “Party on Dude!” 


But the days are growing short. The world is passing away.  And Christ’s coming in glory on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead is at hand.  But the world parties and rocks on!  Oblivious that it will all come crashing to an end.


In addition, you mourn for your own sin and what your sin has done to others.  The deep and immense pain that your sin has caused.  The divisions.  Devastated and ruined relationships.  The heartaches.  The irreparable harm.  You have a more sensitive awareness of your sin.  When you’re forgiven you can take an honest look at yourself.  And it’s not pretty.  The rot goes pretty deep!  It causes you to mourn.


And you bear these sorrows or whatever other sorrows may come.  And by bearing them you bear witness to Jesus who bore the world’s griefs and carried its sorrows on the Cross.  Disciples of Jesus, then, are open to sorrow.  You do not reject it because you follow Jesus.  And from Jesus comes this promise:  “you will be comforted.”  Jesus is your comfort.  His death on the cross and His word of the cross are your consolation.


“Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”   The meek are those that trust in Jesus!  Who put their lives in His hands.  Who wait patiently for His help.  Who are confident that He will vindicate them.


Meekness here is not a wimpish – walk all over me – kind of thing.  Instead, meekness is an incredible strength hidden under its opposite.  And the strength of meekness is this:  it lets Jesus be Jesus.  He’s the Savior!  You’re not!  It is exactly what St. Paul writes:  “when I am weak then I am strong.”


Meekness claims no rights with Jesus.  Meekness lives only to and from Jesus.  So when you are reviled for being a disciple you say nothing and just take it.  When you are slapped on one cheek, you offer the other.  When you are robbed of your cloak, offer also your tunic.  When you are cursed, you bless.  You love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.  You pray for those who harm you.  Revenge is left for God.


That’s meekness in the way of Jesus.  Who, as a lamb led to the slaughter, didn’t open His mouth when His enemies mocked Him and brought great injustice to Him.  His death was an innocent death for a guilty world.  The enormous power of God was hidden and yet revealed in the meekness of Jesus’ death.  And this is the hidden meekness of you, His disciples.  You live under His promise that on the Last Day you will “inherit the earth.”  The new heaven and the new earth that is yet to come.


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”  Disciples of Jesus know the hunger pangs of spiritual hunger and the pain of spiritual thirst.  They leave behind the smorgasbord of religion by merit, self-justification, and the insistence of rights.  No righteousness of their own!


Instead, disciples hunger and thirst for the righteousness of Jesus Himself!   And that is living only on the promise of Jesus that He is your righteousness!  Jesus is the Bread of Life!  Jesus gives His cup of salvation to drink.  And His disciples are filled.  Satisfied in the foretaste of the feast to come:  the Lord’s Supper. 


“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”   No act of mercy for a disciple is too low.  No distress too great.  No sin too appalling.  Disciples are drawn to help the sick, the troubled, the wretched, the miserable, the tortured, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised, the imprisoned.  Disciples don’t care what others think or say about their acts of mercy.  Disciples overflow with mercy for others because they have been mercied by Jesus Himself!


Jesus’ mercy extends to all.  He mercied tax collectors and prostitutes.  He bent down low to help the sick, the dispossessed, the demon possessed, and the desperate.  And His death on the cross is total mercy to all.  Disciples of Jesus are eager to let His mercy flow to others just as they have received mercy now and finally one more time on the Last Day. 


“Blessed are the pure in heart, for the will see God.”  The pure in heart are those whose hearts have been cleansed with the blood of Jesus!  Those who believe in Him!  Those who are poor in spirit!  And they see God in Jesus.  For Jesus is God in the flesh.  And then on the Last Day fully!


“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”  You have peace with God through Jesus’ blood!  His Calvary wounds bring you peace before God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace! 


Disciples then bring the peace of the cross to the world.  Forgiving sin.  Pardoning sinners with Jesus’ peace!  Overcoming evil with good.  Suffering hatred and violence for the sake of peace.  Refusing to inflict violence on others.  Disciples carry the peace of Jesus’ cross into a world of hatred and hostility.  Disciples stand with Jesus’ cross that brings peace.  Reconciliation. 


The world hates disciples of Prince of the Peace just like it hated the Prince of Peace Himself. And so you are sons of God!    


“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.  After all, this is exactly how the prophets were treated too!”


Disciples of Jesus, just like Jesus Himself, are a threat to the world.  Christ’s cross leaves an indelible mark on you!  Hatred and persecution will come and does come to Christians!  Why?  Because you believe in Jesus and not the world’s idols.  Because your mercy is considered menacing!  Because your poverty in Christ is too powerful!  Because your suffering for Christ’s sake is too strong! 


But Jesus says:  “Rejoice and be glad!  Great is your reward in heaven.”  At the end, on the Last Day, you will see!  You will see that you truly are blessed!  Just as Jesus says today!  When Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead, as you stand in His light with the prophets, apostles, saints, martyrs, with blessed Mary, Paul, James, John, and all who have fallen asleep in Jesus, you will behold that you are blessed!  Then there will be no more tears in your eyes.  You will sit at the heavenly banquet table and be filled forever. 


Now we are given simply to believe these promises from Jesus in His blessings. 


Blessed are you!


In the Name of Jesus.    


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