The Beatitudes

November 1st, 2012 Post by

Associate Editor’s Note: Originally posted on Pastor Lovett’s blog.  A great devotional thought for All Saints’ Day.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

This is what the Lord taught His disciples. He taught them who it is that is blessed; who it is that inherits the kingdom of heaven. These are not prescriptive, things we must do or keep or abide by. They are descriptive. They describe who the blessed are and what they will receive. They are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and they are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake and reviled for Jesus’ sake. That’s who the blessed are.

And they will receive the kingdom of heaven. They will be comforted, they will inherit the earth, they will be satisfied, they will receive mercy, they shall see God, they shall be called the sons of God, and they will have great reward in heaven. That’s what they get.

When you look at an old run-down, gutted out, dilapidated  smelly house on the wrong side of the tracks; one whose windows are all broken, whose door is off the hinges, whose porch is falling and whose roof seems to be caving in, what do you see? Well, you see a run-down, gutted out, dilapidated smelly house whose windows are broken, and whose foundations and fixtures are collapsing. Somewhat hopeless and helpless. Better to tear it down and start over. In fact, better to tear it down and build a new house on the right side of the tracks with all the modern features.

But a builder who cares about the history of the house, who cares about the location and the neighborhood, a builder who spends his time fixing things and building things; he may see something different. He might see a house in need of care and love. He would see a house that can house a family and have children in the front yard. He sees what the house could be, what it will be when he’s done with it. He sees the house in all of its glory. He he sets to work.

So our Lord sees you, His house; His temple. When we see it, it looks run-down and gutted out. Maintenance of the church has become a drain and the pews are emptier. We may see a dilapidated congregation whose foundations are cracking. The fixtures are falling apart, beginning to show the wear and tear of the years. Not the wear and tear of usage, not the mechanical physical wear and tear. But the spiritual wear and tear of friends offended; loved ones gone; deceased, moved away, or transferred out. The fixtures we call “youth groups” “LWML” “LLL” “Sunday school” even “fellowship,” they seem to be decaying before our very eyes. We see a dilapidated house that is only getting worse as it suffers the weather and fury of high winds and storms that beat against it, wearing it down. And sometimes we catch ourselves thinking that it would be better to tear it down and start over than try to build it up and repair it. Better to go and build somewhere else than to try and salvage such a dilapidated house.

But that is not what our Lord sees. That is not what He saw as that tired and weary multitude gathered to Him when He sat down to teach them. Tired from the burdens of the scribes and Pharisees. Wearied by the oppression of sin and shame and guilt of past sins and present sins. Numbed by the countless years of doing the same thing over and over and over, never seeming to get better, never seeming to get it right; worried and concerned that they are doing it all wrong; worried about whether or not God has forsaken them or loves them still. That’s not what He saw then and that’s not what He sees when He looks out on you. He doesn’t see you as a dilapidated failure; a weather-beaten, storm-tossed little house whose foundation is cracked and whose fixtures are falling apart, old and tarnished. He sees the multitude of the blessed. He sees His Father’s house.

He is the builder and we are the house. He is the craftsman and we are the temple. And He is building us up into a spiritual house whose foundation is Christ Himself, whose walls and rafters are the apostles and prophets. He comes and makes us His home, with His Father also. They come and make us their home, their dwelling place; uniting us by the Spirit of God and joining us together in the sacred bond between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the bond of peace. And we are blessed for it.

This is the kingdom of heaven, and we are the poor in spirit who are blessed to inherit it.

Here we come mourning our sin and shame, and here we are comforted from the burdens of sin and shame by the promise of Jesus, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Here is the new heavens and the new earth whose King reigns in righteousness and purity forever.

Here the righteousness of Christ satisfies our need for a clean conscience.

Here we receive the divine mercy from our divine friend and brother who purifies our hearts  so that we see God.

Here we are not called “sinner” and “G0d-hater,” here we are called sons of God for here the peace of God reigns by the blood of Jesus who is the peacemaker between God and man.

Here are the blessed. This is what Jesus sees when He looks out on the multitude gathered here before Him. He sees the company of the blessed. The fixtures of the house of the Lord are not the meetings in her basement or the clubs she forms and outgrows. You are the fixtures. And your heavenly builder cares about you and your past and where you are. So He sets to work. He forgives your sins and teaches you the righteousness of faith that clings to the obedience of the Son of Man as your obedience. He raises you up out of sin and shame, giving you His Spirit so that you have the mind of Christ, rejecting the evil and choosing the good. He fills you with the joy of angels who rejoice with you at the salvation of our God and the Lamb. He sets to work building His house, His Father’s house. And in it He prepares a place for you so that when He is finished building He would come to you and take you to where He is, even as you are now where He is as even now you are in the company of all saints.

Rejoice, O congregation, for while you may well be reviled and rejected by many, persecuted and maligned because of your devotion to Jesus, your reward is great in heaven. Indeed, here is your reward: eternal life in the Son of God.

 


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  1. Rev. McCall
    November 1st, 2012 at 13:43 | #1

    Prescriptive vs. Descriptive. One of the most important distinctions one can see and discern in the Scriptures. Great article!

  2. November 1st, 2012 at 13:52 | #2

    Here is a beautiful old Lutheran hymn written for All Saints, based on the Beatitudes:

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2012/11/01/a-hymn-for-all-saints-day/

  3. Carl H
    November 1st, 2012 at 17:44 | #3

    For the longest time I regarded the Beatitudes largely as showing a way for me to take comfort from my situation. Then one day these words stood out: “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    Consequently the Beatitudes, besides providing personal comfort, also speak to how I will best see other people. Worldly measures of success are out of place in the Kingdom, because those whom the world might regard as pitiful or weak, etc., are the very ones God has chosen to reward. (James 2:5)

  4. November 1st, 2012 at 23:47 | #4

    Just for fun, amusement and theological benefit let me throw a wrench in all this and assert that the beatitudes are the law of God.

    Outisde of Christ I am none of the things described by Jesus. I have failed. I do not desire mercy and I do not see myself as poor in spirit. Until I hear these words as law, just as the rich young fool a few chapters later would hear the law against his worship of money, I am not downcast but self-righteous. This is Jesus doing his best John the Baptist impression, coming right out of the theological starting gates of his ministry and laying down the law.

    It is not until we get to the last chapters of the Gospel of Matthew that the Gospel comes shining through as we see Jesus dieing to forgive us of our sins that we might be proclaimed righteous and seen by God as the blessed ones.

  5. James Sarver
    November 2nd, 2012 at 06:40 | #5

    Pr. Rossow @ #4,

    “Outisde of Christ I am none of the things described by Jesus.”

    Exactly. Jesus is describing His own attributes in the Beatitudes. He is the one who fulfils the requirements of the Law. If we have these things we have them because we have them in Him, though faith. Then we are truly counted as blessed.

  6. Pr. Don Kirchner
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:14 | #6

    Others also see Gospel in he Beatitudes.

    From the note on Matt. 5:3-11

    “Blessed. Jesus began His sermon by nine times declaring His disciples blessed because of what God had in store for them. Jesus was not making ethical demands of His followers but was describing blessings they would fully enjoy in the new heaven and new earth (Rv 21:1). The beatitudes are a common literary form found throughout Scripture (e.g., Ps 1:1; Lk 11:28; Rv 19:9).”

    From the note on Matt. 5:3:

    “theirs is the kingdom of heaven. A possession that disciples enjoy even now by faith. This blessing is repeated in v 10. Aug: “The one reward, which is the kingdom of heaven, is variously named [in the Beatitudes]” (NPNF 1 6:7).

    From the note on Matt. 5:1-12:

    “Jesus introduces His Sermon on the Mount with nine beatitudes that detail the future blessedness of His disciples. These promised blessings are God’s gracious gifts to those who repent of their sins and trust Christ for righteousness. Only after Jesus has assured His disciples of God’s goodness to them does He call on them, in the rest of His sermon, to be good and do good. When we recognize our own spiritual poverty, when the Lord leads us to hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness, when He makes us pure in heart so that we seek to worship only the true God, then we are blessed, now and forever. • Gracious Savior, keep my eyes ever focused on You and Your blessings, which are mine by grace alone. Amen.”

    The Lutheran Study Bible (CPH 2009)

  7. Pr. Don Kirchner
    November 3rd, 2012 at 11:30 | #7

    Preached by an LCMS pastor some years ago.

    “What It Takes to Be a Saint”
    Matthew 5:1-12

    Today, we celebrate the Festival of All Saints. We remember, as we sang, those who have gone before us, some suffering persecution and even dying for the faith. We remember those saints who have, by the grace of God, served the Church and world with lasting contributions. We remember those friends and loved ones who have now rest from their labors.

    What does it take to be a saint? A saint is one who is sanctified-made holy- one who has no sin. Therefore, if you are without sin, you are a saint, too. In our Gospel lesson today, Jesus recites the “Beatitudes,” qualities of those who are blessed to be saints. The word comes from the Latin beatus, which means blessed. This is an important passage of Scripture, and one that carries with it great joy and blessing. However, it is also one that is often twisted and misunderstood in a legalistic manner that can lead to despair. Therefore, we examine these Beatitudes first according to the Law; then we will examine them in light of our Savior, the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.

    A while back, I read that 85% of all drivers in America consider themselves “above-average” drivers. Of course, this cannot be true: By definition, only 49% of drivers are above average. However, the survey gives us an insight into human nature: People generally view themselves as better than others. And if they are better than others, then they are doing a good enough job. Or like the old joke about a bear chasing Jim and Bob. Jim doesn’t have to outrun the bear. He only has to outrun Bob. That’s good enough.

    Often one will hear, “The message of the Beatitudes is that, if I do these things well enough, then I will be happy. If I am good enough at these things, then I will be blessed.” It’s a human standard of measure: “If I am better at this than average, then I’m in good shape.” But does this work for sainthood? Let’s take a look at the Beatitudes, to see if we are good enough at keeping them.

    Jesus declares, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Indeed, the Scriptures make clear that the saints of God will enjoy eternal life with a new heaven and a new earth; and Jesus declares here that saints are meek. Now, meekness is power under control. One who is meek uses his power, authority, position and skills in service to others, not himself. So, are you meek enough? Do you always use your power, position and talents in service to others? How do you treat your family? Do you always live as a servant to them, considering their matters to be more important than your own? Is there ever a time that you lose your temper or want some time just for yourself? Are you a meek-enough servant in your home? Do you use what you have in service to others? Could you give away more? Could you live with less than you do? Do you help as much as you can?

    We could go on and ask more and more questions along these lines. The response of the sinful nature is, “Sure, I could be meeker, but I think that I am meek enough.” But here is the thing: Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek.” He does not say, “Blessed are those who believe that they are meek enough.” When He calls for meekness, He calls for perfect meekness; it is not your measure that matters, but the measure of the almighty, holy God. To believe that we are meek enough, according to God’s standards, is arrogance and pride-the very opposite of meekness!

    Jesus declares, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To hunger and thirst for righteousness is earnestly to desire the things of God-holiness, faith, purity- and those who hunger and thirst will seize every opportunity to be fed. What does it mean to hunger and thirst enough for righteousness. Some will propose that it is enough to attend worship on Christmas and Easter, while others will hold out for four times a year. Some will maintain that every-Sunday attendance indicates an earnest desire, while others will add midweek services during Advent and Lent. And what about this hunger and thirst outside of worship-do you have daily devotions? Are they long enough? Do you devote enough time to Scripture-reading and prayer?

    Once again, the response of the Old Adam is to say, “I hunger and thirst for righteousness enough because I’m satisfied with my efforts.” But Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst by their standards.” He offers no qualifiers. To believe that we hunger and thirst for righteousness enough is, again, a most unrighteous arrogance and pride.

    One more ought to do it-or do us in. Jesus declares, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Once again, to see God is a privilege of the saints, who will see Him in glory for eternity. Of course, to be pure in heart, you never have had thoughts of lust or covetousness. You always are perfectly satisfied with the things that you have, perfectly trusting when trials arise. You are not affected by prejudice, nor would you ever indulge in gossip or grudge-bearing.

    Now, I know of no one, Christian or non-Christian, who claims to have a heart that is absolutely pure; it’s impossible. That’s why the Old Adam comes up with this seductive line: “I’m only human, nobody’s perfect, and I’m not as bad as some people are.” But listen once again to the Beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart,” says Jesus. He does not say, “Blessed are the purer in heart.” If we say or believe that we are pure in heart, or even pure enough in heart, we give proof enough that our hearts are far from pure.

    Remember where we started with the Beatitudes, with the common teaching that “If you do these things, then you will be blessed and happy.” This is a misleading teaching, because you must do these things perfectly, all the time, to earn the blessing and enjoy the happiness. Once you examine what these Beatitudes require, you are far more likely to cry out, “Enough of these Beatitudes! They promise blessing if I do them perfectly, but I cannot do that. That is more than I can do.”

    And if that is what you cry out, then blessed are you! Blessed are you because, by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, you have made an honest confession of sin. You have examined yourself by the unflinching mirror of God’s holy Law, and you have concluded that you cannot live up to it. If it is up to you to be meek and merciful and pure, you are without hope. Amen. This is most certainly true. You now agree with the Law of God that you can never do enough to please Him or earn your salvation. Who will save you?

    Though we cannot fulfill the requirements of these Beatitudes, we by no means shun them. For one thing, we need to know of our sin. For another, these Beatitudes give us the opportunity to rejoice in our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has kept these Beatitudes perfectly. What’s more, He has kept them perfectly for you. Listen, and rejoice.

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” says Jesus. No one has been poor enough in spirit, except Jesus. We marvel at this godly, unending humility during the Savior’s journey from birth to cross. Had He demanded that He sit on a throne and be served, hand and foot, by all, He would only have asked for what He deserved. But the Lord did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Humbly, the almighty Son of God served those around Him. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, taught the sinner, forgave the penitent, raised the dead. He did not practice pride and demand service. He served, even to the point of death on the cross. He was poor in spirit enough, perfectly, that we might have the kingdom of heaven.

    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Jesus mourned, not just the death of a loved one like Lazarus, but the killing sinfulness of man. He mourned for Jerusalem, that her inhabitants would not repent. Furthermore, He paid the price for sin on the cross, that our mourning might be turned to dancing. Jesus did more than mourn-He saved us from eternal mourning. He mourned enough, perfectly, that we might be comforted.

    “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Remember, meekness is power under control, used in service to others. Jesus did not use His omnipotent power for His own profit, but in service to others-He cured diseases, multiplied bread and fish, and cast out demons. When beaten and spat upon by sinners, He did not wipe them out with a word. Meekly, the all-powerful Son of God allowed Himself to be crucified. He has been meek enough, perfect, so that you might be delivered to the new heaven and the new earth.

    “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” To be merciful is not to give an evildoer what he deserves. Again, the Lord Jesus did not destroy those who arrested Him, blasphemed Him, crucified and mocked Him. He could have, but instead of giving them what they deserved, He spared them and died for them, to give sinners what they do not deserve: forgiveness. Instead of condemning you, He forgives you. He has been merciful enough, so that He might give mercy to you forever.

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Jesus was perfectly pure in heart-and why? Hebrews 4:16 tells us that because He was without sin, we can go before His throne of grace with confidence. Jesus has been pure enough in heart so that you might see God in glory forever.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The Lord Jesus Christ made peace between man and God by breaking down the wall of separation between the two (Eph. 2:14), by removing the sin that kept us from God’s presence. He has made enough peace so that you are sons of God and heirs of heaven.

    “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely for My sake.” And who has been persecuted for righteousness’ sake more than Jesus Himself? Who has been reviled and persecuted and spoken evil of more falsely than the Lord? He has done these things, and so His is the kingdom of heaven. But once again, He has done these things for you. He shares His victory over sin and death with you, and so yours is the kingdom of heaven.

    Do you see? When we saw what we had to do to fulfill the Beatitudes, we saw we couldn’t do it-not even close. They only showed us how deep and dark our sin-how terrible our failures. But look what happens when we look at the Beatitudes and Christ: Now you see your salvation! He has fulfilled the Beatitudes perfectly, and He has done it for you. The great exchange has taken place: Christ Jesus has suffered God’s wrath for your failures to be poor in spirit, meek, merciful and all the rest. And He has given you the credit for His obedience-for His keeping of the Beatitudes. Because He has done so, God the Father looks upon you and says, “I see no sin in you, because My Son has taken it all away. Now, for His sake when I look at you, I see one who is poor in spirit, mournful and meek, earnest for righteousness – holy. Yours in the kingdom of heaven.”

    How odd it seems at first: We do not become holy because of how well we fulfill the Beatitudes. Rather, we are made holy because, by the work of the Spirit, we confess that we cannot keep them as we ought. And when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is why the life of the Christian is one of continual repentance-confessing our sins, and rejoicing that Jesus has done what we could not do.

    What does it take to be a saint? You need to be without sin. And so you are-not by your work, for it is never enough, but by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. He alone has done the work and paid the price to make you holy. Blessed are you, His saints: Because you are forgiven of all of your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  8. November 3rd, 2012 at 11:37 | #8

    Exactly Kirchner!

    The beatitudes are all law but they certainly lead to some great Gospel preaching.

    Look at the context folks. The entire sermon on the mount is Jesus coming out strong with the law. Matthew 5:48 is the capstone – be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.

    I am none of the things described in Matthew 5-7. All those things convict me of my sin. They are all standards and requirements. These things cannot be twisted into the Gospel.

    After all, we all know that Jesus read Walther and he would never start a sermon with the Gospel and then conclude with the Gospel! :)

    This is Jesus’ “repent” talk.

  9. November 3rd, 2012 at 16:04 | #9

    The Beatitudes are describing the blessed state of the children of God as a result of the grace and love of God at work in their lives.

    It would unfortunate if anyone treated the Sermon on Mount as merely/only a call to repent.

    That would be to miss the point, rather entirely.

    Of course if you have an aversion to parenesis in a Christian sermon I’m sure the Sermon on the Mount does cause no little discomfort.

    :)

  10. Pr. Don Kirchner
    November 3rd, 2012 at 16:29 | #10

    Rev. Paul T. McCain :The Beatitudes are describing the blessed state of the children of God as a result of the grace and love of God at work in their lives.
    It would unfortunate if anyone treated the Sermon on Mount as merely/only a call to repent.
    That would be to miss the point, rather entirely.

    Indeed, Paul. As well as the commentator in The Lutheran Study Bible, quoting Augustine, we have Dr. Luther:

    “Blessed are the spiritually poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    This is a fine, sweet, and friendly beginning for His instruction and preaching. He does not come like Moses or a teacher of the Law, with demands, threats, and terrors, but in a very friendly way, with enticements, allurements, and pleasant promises. In fact, if it were not for this report which has preserved for us all the first dear words that the Lord Christ preached, curiosity would drive and impel everyone to run all the way to Jerusalem, or even to the end of the world, just to hear one word of it.” [AE 21, 10]

    “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

    These are really sweet and comforting words. They should gladden and encourage our hearts against all kinds of persecution. Should not the dear Lord’s Word and comfort be dearer and more important to us than that which comes from a helpless bag of worms, or the rage, threats, excommunication, curses, and lightning of the miserable pope, even though he deluged us with the very dregs and the whole hell of his wrath and cursing? For I hear my Lord Christ telling me that He is truly delighted, and commanding me to be happy about it. In addition, He promises me such a wonderful reward: the kingdom of heaven shall be mine and everything that Christ has, together with all the saints and all Christendom—in short, such a treasure and comfort that I should not trade it for all the possessions, joy, and music in the whole world, even though all the leaves and all the blades of grass were tongues singing my praises. This is not a Christian calling me “blessed,” nor even an angel, but the Lord of all the angels, before whom they and all the creatures must kneel and adore. With all the other creatures, therefore, with the leaves and the grass, they must cheerfully sing and dance in my honor and praise.” [AE 21, 50]

    Of course, if you are a Jew…

    “Friendly and sweet as this sermon is for Christians, who are His disciples, just so irksome and unbearable it is for the Jews and their great saints. From the very beginning He hits them hard with these words, rejecting and condemning their teaching, preaching the exact opposite, yes, pronouncing woe upon their life and teaching, as Luke 6:24–26 shows. The essence of their teaching was this: “If a man is successful here on earth, he is blessed and well off.” That was all they aimed for, that if they were pious and served God, He should give them plenty upon earth and deprive them of nothing…

    In opposition to this, Christ opens His mouth here and says that something is necessary other than the possession of enough on earth; as if He were to say: “My dear disciples, when you come to preach among the people, you will find out that this is their teaching and belief: ‘Whoever is rich or powerful is completely blessed; on the other hand, whoever is poor and miserable is rejected and condemned before God.’ ” The Jews were firmly persuaded that if a man was successful, this was a sign that he had a gracious God, and vice versa.” [AE 21, 10-11]

  11. Michael L. Anderson MD, PhD
    November 5th, 2012 at 11:13 | #11

    Thank you for the reinforcing Gospel messages, gentlemen. They lift up the stiffened and bowed back, as fluoxetine cannot and will not, so that we who are but lame, on our own dime, can truly dance.

    An intriguing reference is made in blessed St. Matthew’s transcript, very early in his chapter 5, which impacts the discussion of the core nature of the Beatitudes greatly, I think.

    In the first verse, we are informed that Lord Christ … seeing the multitudes before Him … voluntarily lifted Himself up, that is, He “went up onto a mountain” to preach. That’s rich enough, for those with ears to hear, and eyes to behold the Crucified in the Word, I suppose … but in the AV, the following also draws the attention of the brain: “and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him.” The blessed evangelist continues (v. 2) “And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying …” Thence comes, immediately, the Beatitudes.

    To poor weary me, the antecedent of them is not all that obvious, and I suspect that inimitable Holy Ghost is at it again. There’s treasure to be found, in this field. Is the “them” the unwashed multitude, for whom Christ nevertheless mounted another mountain, the Place of the Skull, meekly and without complaint? Or is it His flock, trusting in the merits of mounting and the shed blood of the Lamb? Is it rather both/and?

    All disciples of Jesus will see the “them” as His “them.” And Good Shepherd feeds His “them,” His flock. At times He will curb the flock, to be sure; there’s a reason and a place for the crook and the rod in the shepherd’s armory. Yes. It’s called sheep-flesh. But for those aware of their frailties and failings, who are collapsing and bleating for mercy and nourishment, only the Gospel will do for preservation along the Way. It’s why Christ told St. Peter to feed His sheep, His disciples three times. He didn’t choose to say “Flagellate ‘em (like I did in the Beatitudes)” three times. You can look it up, there in John 21.

    I know, I know. Lord Christ did make a pointed reference to Satan, when addressing His same disciple St. Peter. Right. Talk about Law. That must have stung, like a cat-o-nine-tails. But it was only once. The Lord didn’t address the Pharisee as a whitened sepulchre everytime He saw one, either, to all appearances.

    There are a lot of staccatoed blessings, in Mt. 5:3-12. You can see them listed in Rev. Lovett’s sermon, above. I’m no bookie, but on the basis of other Scripture, I think the numbers fall fairly convincingly on the side of Gospel.

    So aaarrgh, lissen up and loosen up, ya thievin’ rascals and saints. The victory is ours. White men might not be able to dance, but Fred Astaire had a Lutheran mother. Let’s dance, in the Gospel. Let’s find this great treasure, in the Beatitudes! And rejoice, exceedingly!

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

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