Blessed Are…

beatitudes-1Matthew 5:1-12 contains the text we call The Beatitudes. This text is so familiar some of you are already starting to move on to the next post. After all, we have heard the beatitudes from the time we were children in Sunday School. Maybe we memorized them at Vacation Bible School. Perhaps they are on a plaque in your kitchen.

I hope, though, that you are not jaded by this prolific teaching of Jesus because I’m pretty sure that none of us have mastered these principles.

Maybe that’s why we do not feel very blessed at times. Are we going on ‘auto-correct’ as we read the Beatitudes? As you read do you find yourself thinking things like

*I’m sure Jesus didn’t mean that like it sounds

*Oh you can’t do that these days

*Maybe we should be that way, but …

No, we’re not saying that out loud. But we are living it out loud. When I look at this list then look around … and in the mirror … I am not seeing these demonstrated in many lives. How many humble, mournful, meek, hungry, merciful, pure, peacemaking people do you know? As we read the beatitudes are we silently telling Jesus that this kind of living won’t work in these modern times?

If you were given the assignment to write ten sentences that begin with the words, “Blessed Are…”, I’m betting this is not the list you would come up with (without cheating!).

I really think the Beatitudes remain beyond us in their importance and the profound truth that they expose. In many ways they go against what we ‘know’ about relationships and responding to both friends and enemies. While they run counter to our human nature, we DO want what they promise. The kingdom of heaven, comfort, satisfaction, mercy, belonging, and ultimately a reward in heaven.

What it all comes down to as Jesus begins this amazing ‘Sermon on the Mount’  is trust. Do we believe that if we respond to life’s struggles in these prescribed ways that we will have what our hearts most desperately desire?

Jesus doesn’t wait until the end of his sermon to reach his point … he throws down the gauntlet right from the start. Following Jesus is not business as usual. It is not intuitive. It is does not create a user-friendly environment. The rewards are not received immediately. You have to decide up front if you are going to follow or not.

Do we trust Jesus to live life without correcting Him? Because these rules for living do not seem right. I think it’s been double checked, though, and it’s written correctly. It’s true, because the Teacher is from God. Thankfully He is patient with us as we grow into these areas.

These are some initial thoughts regarding the text for Sunday’s sermon. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the Beatitudes. Thanks for reading,

John