S-1389 All Saints Day/3C11/03/13 Hymns: (O) #463 vv. 1-5; (S) #351; (C) #463 vv. 6-8
Text: Revelation 7:9-17; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12
Theme: “God’s Unbelievable Love!” (1 John 3:1)
Question: “What is the most expensive gift have you gotten?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for All Saints Day is a portion of the Epistle lesson: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
Precious children of the heavenly Father, gifts are always special and even more special when they are thoughtful. Gifts are usually a token of love, affection, and appreciation. But at times we are challenged in the way we express love. They say love makes the world go around; love also makes you give the most extravagant things to the one you love, be that your partner, your friend, your child or parent. People tend to spend more when it comes to buying gifts for the ones they love. History is a witness to this fact. Here’s a list of some of the most expensive gifts given in the name of love.
In 1632 Shah Jahan commissioned workers to build a mausoleum to house the remains of his beloved wife—Mumatz. It took workers over 22 years to complete the Taj Mahal. By today’s standard, it would have cost $1 billion to build.
In 1972 Richard Burton gifted his wife Elizabeth Taylor a 69.42 carat pear shaped diamond for her 40th birthday and it was estimated to be around $1,050,000 in worth at that time.
On November 2, 2007 Mukesh Ambani (India’s richest man) gave his wife Nita, a jet plane worth $60 million on her 44th birthday. This jet has all the comfort and luxury of home you desire and more.
David Beckham (world soccer player) gifted his wife (Victoria) a rare diamond-studded purse. The Silver Himalayan bag was his Christmas present in 2009. The bag cost Beckham a whopping $129,000. PAUSE.
It is amazing to reflect on such extravagant gifts given in the name of love. And perhaps we wish to receive such gifts too from someone who loves us. But as lavish as these gifts are, they pale in comparison to the Unbelievable gift of love God has given to us. This is what John tells us in today’s Epistle reading: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” In the original language, the word “kind” can be translated, “how great, how wonderful, how awesome, how lavish, how fabulous…” is God’s love towards us. It is an unbelievable love that is more costly than a building project of 22 years, more precious than a pear shaped diamond, more valuable than a $60 million jet and a Himalayan bag. The gift of love we have gotten is none other than the eternal Son of God Jesus Christ.
In his Spirit-inspired Gospel, John in his Gospel teaches us this wonderful truth: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Yes, this is the reality of the matter for us. That God the Father gave us more than all of the gifts of love combined.
He didn’t send workers to build a great empire. He didn’t spend money to purchase a jet, a diamond necklace or a diamond studded purse. No, He gave us His most precious and lavish gift the world has ever known. He gave us His Son to be our Savior and Lord. He gave us Jesus to win our lives back to Him. He gave us the Jewel of heaven to redeem us. He gave us the Morning Star to forgive us our sins.
Indeed, this is an unbelievable love demonstrated not by human ingenuity, but by a Divine plan to make us His children for ever. Because of Christ coming to earth, His willingness to go to the cross, suffer, die and rise again on the third day, we receive the gift of becoming part of the family of God forever. You can try to wrap your head around this if you like, but you can’t! As unbelievable as this love is, it is REAL and FOR YOU today and every day! PAUSE.
In October of this year, a 15 year old orphan boy Davion Henry Only, stood in a church in St. Petersburg, FL and asked to be adopted. He was seeking a family to call his own and who would love him until he dies. This is how he announced it: “My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born…I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either. I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.” And it appears that Only will get his wish.
It takes someone with a special heart to love a child that is not his/her own. It takes lots of money to adopt. And it takes time to become part of the family.
That is precisely what God has done for us in Christ His Son. John tells us how we became part of the great family of believers. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” In this act of love displayed on Calvary’s cross we have been made part of this grand family. In the waters of Baptism, we were adopted and the proper papers drawn saying, you belong to this family as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit claimed you. This love-driven adoption gives you a name and a place, a present and a future, a family and an inheritance! At His altar He feeds your soul with the heavenly manna. In His house of worship He smiles upon you and covers your filthy body with His white robes of righteousness. And He gives you His Word to remind you of His unbelievable love for you.
In fact, you can’t ask the Father to adopt you. That is what makes this love that much more unbelievable! The loving Father knew what you and I needed. And for that reason He gave us His Son to make us His own. Oh, what an unbelievable love we have. And what a privilege to tell our story to the world around us!
May you and I, by the power of the Holy Spirit tell the world that we are God’s precious children and loved with an unbelievable love forever and ever. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA