Pentecost 15 B 2021 “He Has done All Things Well” Sermon
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
In our Gospel reading today, we find that the crowd of people following Jesus were becoming more and more impressed with Him. And why not? Throughout His travels in the Northern part of the Holy Land, Jesus had healed the sick, and performed miracles, and taught with wisdom. And so, the people responded with praise and wonder.
“He has done everything well” they said. “He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” And they were astounded beyond measure.
This morning we will focus on the response in verse 37 which states: “He has done all things well.”
Let me start off by saying that if you asked Phyllis about my housekeeping skills, she would tell you what kind of job I do. “Good Enough” is good enough for me, but usually not to her standards. Yes, I know I am not perfect, but hey, I’m a Pastor and not a housekeeper.
Well, life is like that. We do something and think we are doing an “OK” job, but unfortunately it fails to live up to the expectations of other people. What is OK is good enough for me, but not for someone else. But life is like that.
My friends, the same is true with God. When God looks at me, I bet that God probably thinks that I am a little rough around the edges. Yes, I lead worship regularly. And I preside at Holy Communion. And I am a Called and Ordained minister in the ELCA. But even so, I am like everyone else, and I fall short of the “Glory of God.”
James, in our second reading this morning, drives this point home when he states: “Whoever breaks even one law is guilty of breaking it all. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
There is no “pretty good” when it comes to what God expects from us. God does not grade us on a sliding scale. Instead, God uses a pass/fail system, and if you sin you fail. Even if we think we are good enough, that too is a lie and we have broken a commandment and we have failed.
“Pretty Good” is not good enough for God. God’s standard is always perfection. And the only One who was ever perfect was Jesus. Jesus lived the perfect life in our place. Jesus knew no sin. Jesus kept the law exactly the way God wanted the law to be kept. Therefore, the people were right when they said: “He has done everything well.”
And He deserves our praise as well. Jesus lived the perfect life for you and for me. In fact, on the cross He bore our sins in His body on the Cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds, we have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
Jesus has done all things well. His good work fixes our bad work. His good work purifies our tainted work. His good work wins for us the blessing of salvation, and the opportunity to participate in his Good Works.
Yes, the Christian does good works. We do not do them to earn our salvation. We do them because we have been saved. We do not do good works to earn blessings, we do them because we have been blessed.
And even though our good works are never good enough on our own, Christ’s forgiveness makes them complete and perfect and righteous. After all, they are not really our good works but His work which He has prepared for us to do.
And the strange part about it is, the good works that we do with the help of the Holy Spirit is often work that we do not even know that we do. And we respond like those who have gone before us. Listen to their response.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Mathew 25:34-40
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, even though our hand is on the plow, our eye must be on the horizon – and the fulfillment of His promises to us.
We sinners do not do anything that well. But Jesus has done all things well, and He has done them for us. This morning let us pray that God would give us the strength and courage to do our best in service to others as we live out the ministry God has bestowed upon us.
Let us pray: Almighty God, to whom all hearts are known, grant us a true heart, that we would honor you not only with our lips, but serve you faithfully with all our heart, mind, and strength. Bless the ministry of this congregation in our community, that many will embrace Jesus as the Christ and believe that He lived the perfect life in our place for our salvation. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.