Monday, September 14, 2015

{WK2} Review #SermonOnTheMount

MATTHEW 5:3-12
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

As the Sermon on the Mount begins, we have these statements of blessing. Jesus is offering us some insight on who is blessed. We, especially in our country, have a tendency to connect our material possessions with being blessed. We talk about our homes or our jobs or our cars and say, “we are very blessed.” But not-so-surprisingly, Jesus makes no distinction between our worldly good and blessing. Here, Jesus provides us a list of those he calls blessed.

Could you imagine being the first people to hear this list that Jesus provides? You know they had to begin evaluating themselves saying, “am I in or am I out?” The beatitudes are radical statements about the kingdom and it reveals what the kingdom of heaven looks like. I mean, Jesus could have said to the religious people of the day, “You are blessed, because you know the scriptures and you uphold the law,” but he doesn't. Rather, he blesses marginalized people.

Scot McKnight breaks down the beatitudes into three different sections: there is the blessing on the humility of the poor (mt 5:3-5), a blessing on those who pursue righteousness and justice (mt 5:6-8), and a blessing on those who create peace (mt 5:9-12). These are the people Jesus blesses.

Being blessed by Jesus doesn't have anything to do with a person’s situation or circumstance or social status or physical condition, but everything to do with their love for God, love for themselves, and love for their neighbor. When we begin to understand who the kingdom belongs to, we will begin to live completely different lives. This is what Jesus wants us to see in the beatitudes.

We are not blessed because we are poor or persecuted or meek, but regardless of social condition or social status we can be blessed. This is the kingdom. This is who belongs. We all belong to this kingdom.

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