Blessed are you! Blessed are you because Jesus Christ has come in the flesh to save you from your sins and bring you back to God. Blessed are you because He gave His life into death as the holy Lamb of God sacrificed in your place on the cross of Calvary. Blessed are you because that Jesus who was dead is alive again the third day, triumphing over death. Blessed are you because He has washed you at the font and made you holy, made you a saint. Blessed are you because He continues to absolve you of your sins and feed you with His holy flesh and blood to keep you holy in His sight. Blessed are you that in Jesus Christ, you are clothed with that white robe that has been washed in His blood and you are numbered in His church with all the saints of Old Testament Israel and all the peoples and nations that stand before the throne of the Lamb. You are His saints. You are a part of all of that. Now we might have lots of earthly blessings for which we can be thankful: money or a job or a house or food and clothing or families or good health. But all that stuff is just a drop in the bucket compared to the EVERYTHING you have been blessed with in Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of sins. Salvation from hell. Eternal life. Blessed are you because...Jesus!
But we forget. We forget we are blessed. Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn," etc. All those "blesseds." That's you, His holy people. Those words describe you. You are poor in spirit but rich in grace. You hunger and thirst for rightouesness. You are peacemakers and the people who know how to have mercy on others. But you forget. Your Old Adam mucks it all up. He goes along with the devil and the world to make us think every little irritating inconvenience in life is somehow proof God is against us or that we did something to upset Him. That we're being paid back. Maybe the car broke down and needs an expensive repair. Maybe the cancer is back. Maybe your kids are sick for the umpteenth time and you have no more time to take off work. Maybe you spilled your coffee on your new pants. Maybe your spouse died. Maybe there was some tragedy in your family. Whatever it is, listen up! Every single one of those things that happens, the Lord uses them to teach you to trust in Him. The devil and your Old Adam, however, try to use these things to make you forget you are a saint. And it's not that your sainthood is stained when you throw a fit and get all upset about it. Rather, what the devil is after is getting you to stop trusting that in Jesus you already have way more than anything you can think of. That in Christ you are a saint. That for Jesus' sake, nothing can truly harm you. You're saints! You have every good gift in Christ! But your forget. And when you forget, you aren't peacemakers and mercy-havers and you don't hunger and thirst for righteousness. No, instead, you grumble and complain and worry and think that whatever your problem is is the end of the world. And that's where Jesus rescues you by stating simply: No, you are blessed. Blessed because you are all these things that He says: poor in spirit, meek, persecuted, etc. You are saints. Holy ones. HIS holy ones.
This is why we have All Saints Day. We see the reality of the Lord's people, the saints who have rested from their labors. There they are around the throne of the Lamb. Dressed in white. No more tears. Not from baby shampoo, but because all sin and evil has been put far behind them. Paradise. The gates of pearl. The golden Jerusalem. When we hear the glimpse of that vision, of our brothers and sisters in Christ who rest from their labors, we learn that the Lord keeps His promises. He really DOES keep His people in the faith unto life everlasting. He really WILL raise all of us from the dead on the Last Day. The difference between us and them is not that we aren't both dressed in the white robes of Christ. It's that our Old Adams still cling to us, trying to make us forget everything but ourselves. The cloud of witnesses, the saints and angels, the throne of the Lamb--all of these draw our eyes and ears and hearts and minds away from our pouting selves to remember what it is to be a saint. They are there in their white robes. YOU wear a white robe. You might not see it with your eyes, but it's been put upon you in holy baptism. They sing praises to the Lamb. So do we, every time the church is gathered and the songs of our liturgies and hymns are upon our lips. We may look around and see just each other, but faith sees one another clothed with Christ. Those saints stand around the throne of the Lamb. You are gathered around that Lamb, too. Again, you may not see with your eyes, but there He is under the bread and wine, His flesh and blood given you to raise you from the dead on the Last Day. St. John reminds us in our Epistle: yeah, we don't know what we will be like...yet. But we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. For this life, that's really all we need to know about that. That Day is coming, the day when Christ will return and raise us from the dead and the Old Adam stays buried and the tears are wiped away. Until then, don't forget. Don't forget who you are. You are His. You are saints. You are holy. You are blessed. You are all that in Jesus Christ. Happy All Saints Day. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Sermon Topics: Matthew