Summary: Jesus Turns Our “Boohoos” Into “Yahoos!” 1) By cleansing our hearts 2) By calming our hearts
Have you ever dreamed of being that kid who comes off the bench at the end of the game and hits the winning homerun, or is the person who safely lands the plane after the pilot has had a heart attack? Sure, who doesn’t want to play the part of hero some day, and to be cheered by adoring crowds for turning their “boohoos” into “Yahoos!” Our sermon text today tells us that Jesus does just that for us. He turns our “boohoos” into “yahoos!” by cleansing and calming our hearts.
The author of our text, the Apostle John, had every reason to cry, “boohoo” toward the end of his life. He was the only disciple left of the original twelve and had been exiled to the island of Patmos. He was far from his congregations, many of whom were being persecuted by the government or assailed by false doctrine. John must have felt helpless. Would those congregations survive? And where was Jesus through all this? Didn’t he care what was happening to his Church? Of course he cared. In fact he was already on the job. To assure John of this fact Jesus told him: “I am the Alpha and the Omega…who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
With three different titles Jesus makes it clear that he was still very much in control of what was going on. First Jesus called himself the “Alpha and Omega.” If he had been speaking English, Jesus would have said, “I am the A and Z.” Words recorded by the prophet Isaiah help us understand what this means. “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).
By claiming to be the Alpha and Omega Jesus wants us to know he is everything that we need in this life. We don’t need to turn to anyone or anything else for help – not booze, not porn, not even our bank account. That truth is emphasized by the third title Jesus gave himself: Almighty. There is no problem too big for Jesus to handle – no sickness he can’t cure, no loneliness he can’t overcome. Can we really count on this promise? Sure. Jesus also called himself the one “who is, and who was, and who is to come.” That title not only emphasizes the eternal nature of Jesus, it reminds us of how he is absolutely constant. His power never suffers blackouts and Jesus doesn’t love you any less today than he did yesterday. That’s true even if you lied to your parents, spread a rumor about someone at school, or went through the motions of worship this morning when singing the opening hymn. We know that his love is constant because John described Jesus as the “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5).
When St. John’s Lutheran Church in Wetaskiwin burned, my other preaching gown was in the sacristy there. If the dry cleaning bill had been over $200, I would have said: “Forget it.” After all, I can buy a new gown for $200. Isn’t it amazing then that God’s Son took on human flesh and then shed his blood on the cross to save us? Wouldn’t it have been easier for God to say, “Forget it. I’ll just start over and make a new world with people who will obey me”? But he didn’t. Instead he resolved to show us his grace. It’s no wonder John started the book of Revelation with the words, “Grace and peace to you” (Revelation 1:4b).
Grace. Savor that word. Grace is God’s no-strings-attached love. It’s the kind of love your faithful dog shows you even after you’ve finished taking out the frustrations of the day on him. He ought to lash out and bite off your finger or at least run and hide until you’re in a good mood again. Instead he sits at your feet and nuzzles you. He loves you unconditionally. Jesus is no ball of fur but he did once sit at the feet of his disciples. He washed those smelly feet the day before he gave his own life to pay for their sins and ours. Take refuge in Jesus. He changes your “boohoos” into “Yahoos!” because he cleanses the heart from all sin. His blood dissolves guilt.
Since Jesus has cleansed our hearts he also calms them. To put it another way, if you have God’s grace, then you have peace. Think again of that dog of yours lying at your feet. How do you feel? You feel loved and appreciated. That love eases the tension in the shoulders. It brings peace. Because Jesus loves you and died for you, you don’t have to fear God’s judgment. You have peace – even on Judgment Day when many will cry, “boohoo” as John explained: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him” (Revelation 1:7).