Rev. Mark Buetow
St. Matthew 5:1-12
Try out for this team! All the cool kids play THIS sport. Join THIS club! It's the one that looks best on your college applications! Come work for us! We pay above minimum wage and let you have weekends off. Come to our college! We'll give you a scholarship and pay for your books besides! Come be a part of our company! We've got a health plan and retirement benefits! But best of all: Hey, be a Christian, a disciple of Jesus! You'll be hated and persecuted and trash-talked! Wait a minute. That doesn't sound like a benefits package. Jesus had all this great stuff to say about being a Christian: be comforted, inherit the earth, see God. That all sounds great. Except the “they're gonna hate you and kill you” part. Seriously? Does Jesus actually WANT disciples? If so, this doesn't seem like a very good sign-on bonus to advertise. It doesn't seem like a very good way to attract new folks. And the older you get, as you struggle through high school and into college and life, as you face a world that really could care less that you're a Christian, or worse, hates you for being one, it's going to seem like the glorious things of the kingdom of God are farther and farther off and the the hassles of being a child of God are less and less worth it. Now at this point, a cheerful and happy and worldly preacher would tell you: “just hang in there. Stick it out with Jesus and everything will turn out all right.” That's the same preaching of the world that hates you in the first place. Plug your ears to that.
No, instead realize that if it were up to you, you WOULD give up. You WOULD throw in the towel. You would say, “I don't care how I am Coram Deo, before God, so everyone just leave me alone.” Yeah, if it were up to you. But you don't have a Lord who stands you in front of Him, who puts you Coram Deo and says, “So what's it gonna be?” No. You have a Lord who comes Himself to save you. You have a Lord who puts Himself before God the Father, Coram Deo on a cross for you so you can stand Coram Deo, before God, with nothing to fear. Yes, you have a Lord who washes you with His own blood in the waters of Holy Baptism and stands you Coram Deo with the whole host of His saints of every time and place who wear those same white robes of Jesus that you do. You have such a Savior who has made you a child of God and purified you and you can't yet even imagine what you will be for all eternity in Jesus. Just behold what sort of love the Father has lavished on you in Jesus that God Himself calls you His child! You stand Coram Deo, before God, not as a prisoner, or as a slave or as one who is waiting to be accused and condemned. Nope. In Christ, you stand before God as His child. His dear, precious, holy, pure and BLESSED child. Because you stand before Him because of and in Jesus.
So blessed are you. Blessed are you Coram Deo, before God. Blessed are you, happy are you, even though the world hates you. Why? Not just because you're going to have the kingdom of God in eternal life. No, Jesus doesn't wait to give you good things until the Last Day. He gives you good things now. For today you will have the kingdom of God. Today you will be comforted. And be filled. And be children of God. And today you will see God. Because today, you are Coram Deo, before God, right here, right now, as He comes to us on His altar. And when He does, and when we feast upon His body and blood, here you will be truly blessed in a way the world does not and cannot know. For here you have Jesus. God Himself. Yes, to the world, being a disciples of Jesus seems like a dumb thing. So that's what the world thinks of you. But the world doesn't get to say who you are and what your future is. Jesus does. And He says you are a child of God and have life now with Him and forever with Him and with all the other saints of every time and place. Blessed are you because you are Coram Deo in Jesus. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Created: September 8th, 2011