All Saints’ Sunday
Pastor George Pejakovich
Luke 6:20-31

 


TODAY IS ALL SAINTS SUNDAY. OF COURSE, ALL SAINTS DAY IS NOVEMBER 1, BUT WE CELEBRATE IT ON THE CLOSEST SUNDAY TO THE ACTUAL DAY. THE GOSPEL FOR TODAY IS TAKEN FROM JESUS’ SERMON ON THE PLAIN. IT IS SIMILAR TO WHAT WE KNOW AS THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IN MATTHEW, BUT THERE ARE SOME DIFFERENCES. HERE JESUS IS INSTRUCTING HIS DISCIPLES IN WHAT EXACTLY IT MEANS TO BE HIS DISCIPLE, AND HE DOES SO BY PROVIDING A LIST OF BOTH BLESSINGS AND WOES. THE BLESSINGS ARE FOR THOSE WHO ARE HIS DISCIPLES, AND THE WOES ARE FOR THOSE WHO REFUSE TO FOLLOW HIM. THIS IS MUCH LIKE A MANUAL FOR BEING A SAINT OF GOD.

“BLESSED ARE YOU WHO ARE POOR, FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”
IT IS OBVIOUS THAT MOST POOR PEOPLE WOULD NOT CONSIDER THEMSELVES AS BLESSED, AND SOME SUFFER TERRIBLY IN POVERTY. WHAT JESUS MEANS IS THAT THOSE WHO RENOUNCE THE RICHES OF THE WORLD, WHO ARE POOR FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS, WILL HAVE FOUND SOMETHING OF IMMEASURABLY GREATER VALUE; THE KINGDOM OF GOD. THOSE HE HAS CALLED HAVE ALREADY WALKED AWAY FROM THEIR WORK AND FAMILIES, BUT HAVE BEEN CALLED INTO A NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.

“BLESSED ARE YOU WHO ARE HUNGRY NOW, FOR YOU WILL BE FILLED.”
HE IS NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT PHYSICAL HUNGER, ALTHOUGH THAT IS A PART OF IT. HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE GREATER HUNGER FOR THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT; THE DESIRE FOR THE LIFE IN GOD. THE DESIRE FOR THE FULLNESS OF THE KINGDOM WHICH JESUS BRINGS INTO THE WORLD.

“BLESSED ARE YOU WHO WEEP NOW, FOR YOU WILL LAUGH.”
THE TRIALS, THE PAINS, AND THE LOSSES OF THIS LIFE WILL BE REPLACED WITH THE JOYS OF THE COMING KINGDOM OF GOD. IN THE JOY OF GOD’S KINGDOM, ALL THAT WENT BEFORE IT WILL SEEM TO BE AS NOTHING.

“BLESSED ARE YOU WHEN PEOPLE HATE YOU . . . ON ACCOUNT OF THE SON OF MAN. REJOICE IN THAT DAY AND LEAP FOR JOY, FOR SURELY YOUR REWARD IS GREAT IN HEAVEN.”
THE KIND OF HATRED HE MEANS IS NOT THAT WHICH OFTEN COMES BECAUSE OF RACIAL OR SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION; OR EVEN THAT OTHERS HATE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE A GRUMPY OLD THING LIKE I AM SOMETIMES AND NO ONE WANTS TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU. HE IS TALKING ABOUT WHEN PEOPLE HATE US FOR BEING THE FOLLOWERS OF THE CHRIST. BEING A CHRISTIAN IN A SECULAR WORLD CAN MAKE OTHERS FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE IN OUR PRESENCE. IF WE ARE LIVING IN SUCH A WAY THAT OUR BEING IN CHRIST IS AN AFFRONT TO THE WORLD AROUND US, WE ARE BEING WHAT WE WERE CALLED TO BE. THE OPPOSITION OF THE WORLD IS THE CONFIRMATION THAT WE ARE LIVING AS SAINTS OF GOD, AND THE HATRED OF THE WORLD WILL BE GREATLY REWARDED IN HEAVEN.

THE WOES WHICH FOLLOW ARE THE REVERSAL OF THE BLESSINGS.

“BUT WOE TO YOU WHO ARE RICH, FOR YOU WILL HAVE RECEIVED YOUR CONSOLATION.”
THOSE WHO ARE RICH NOW, WHO PLACE THEIR TRUST IN THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD AND FIND THEIR MEANING AND PURPOSE IN WEALTH AND INFLUENCE, HAVE RECEIVED ALL THEY ARE GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS LIFE, AND WHEN THEY HAVE LEFT THIS LIFE, THEY WILL LEAVE ALL IN WHICH THEY HAVE PLACED THEIR TRUST.

“WOE TO YOU WHO ARE FULL NOW, FOR YOU WILL BE HUNGRY.”
FOR THOSE WHO ARE SATISFIED WITH THEMSELVES AND THEIR LIVES, WHO WANT FOR NOTHING AND THINK OF NOTHING BEYOND THEIR OWN SATISFACTION, THERE WILL BE NOTHING FOR THEM IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. THEY WILL HUNGER FOR WHAT THEY CAN NEVER HAVE, BECAUSE THEY NEVER WANTED IT IN THIS LIFE.

“WOE TO YOU WHO ARE LAUGHING NOW, FOR YOU WILL MOURN AND WEEP.”
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS NO PLACE FOR JOY IN THIS LIFE; IT MEANS THAT ONE CAN’T GO THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT A CARE OR CONCERN FOR THE PAIN AND SUFFERING AROUND US. THOSE WHO REFUSE TO SEE THE NEED AND SUFFERING OF OTHERS, THINKING OF ONLY THEMSELVES AND THEIR OWN PLEASURES, LIKE THE RICH, WILL GET ALL THE JOY THEY ARE EVER GOING TO HAVE IN THIS LIFE ALONE.

“WOE TO YOU WHEN ALL SPEAK WELL OF YOU, FOR THAT IS WHAT THEIR ANCESTORS DID TO THE FALSE PROPHETS.”
IF EVERYONE THINKS WELL OF YOU, IT MEANS YOU ARE LIVING IN A WAY THAT THOSE AROUND YOU FIND PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE. YOU ARE LIVING IN THE WAY OF THE WORLD, AND NOT IN THE WAY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

JESUS ENDS THIS PORTION OF HIS TEACHINGS WITH CONCRETE EXAMPLES OF HOW TO LIVE THE LIFE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THIS WORLD. LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU. BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU, PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ABUSE YOU. IF ANYONE STRIKES YOU ON THE CHEEK, OFFER THE OTHER ONE. IF THEY TAKE YOUR COAT, GIVE THEM YOUR SHIRT. GIVE TO ALL WHO BEGS FROM YOU. IF ANYONE TAKES YOUR GOODS, DON’T ASK FOR THEM BACK. IN ESSENCE, “DO TO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.”

THIS IS THE LIFE OF THE FOLLOWERS OF THE CHRIST, THOSE WHO ARE THE SAINTS OF GOD. BY OURSELVES, THIS WOULD BE A DIFFICULT, AN IMPOSSIBLE WAY TO LIVE. YET WE ARE NOT ALONE IN OUR LIVING AS SAINTS OF GOD. THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHO DESCENDS UPON US IN OUR BAPTISM, GIVES US THE “SPIRIT OF WISDOM AND REVELATION” AS WE COME TO KNOW CHRIST BETTER AND BETTER AS MEMBERS OF HIS BODY IN THIS WORLD. WE LIVE UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WITH THE COMFORT AND SUPPORT OF ONE ANOTHER, EACH A PART OF THE WHOLE BODY OF CHRIST WHICH IS THE “FULLNESS OF HIM WHO FILLS ALL IN ALL.” THE LIFE OF A SAINT OF GOD IS NEVER ALONE, BUT ALWAYS LIFE WITH ALL THE SAINTS IN CHRIST.
AMEN