Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV)
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“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 receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Beatitudes were not a new thing in the world of Jesus. They were pretty much common sense sayings that expressed what everyone already knew. They were short sayings that expressed the conventional wisdom. "Blessed are those on a low-fat diet, for they will have healthier arteries"--that sort of thing.
Jesus turns it all upside down. Nobody would have associated blessings with being poor or in grief. In the reign of God, however, God's favor is upon those who have been left behind--the little, the lone, the least, and the lost.
Jesus doesn’t promise us in living into the beatitudes that we’ll be victorious in all of life’s situations and confrontations…Jesus say rather that you will be blessed. Blessed=made holy/consecrated
Showing others by our example is what is key. That’s another part of discipleship. Just like when you cook a great meal, you use the best ingredients you can. In life those ingredients that are best…are realizing our need for God, showing humbleness, striving for justice for everyone, showing and offering acts of mercy, having a pure heart, working for Gods true peace...even when it’s unpopular, and doing right…even when the people around you look at you a little funny.
Our reward is better than any trophy or plaque. Our reward is greater than millions of dollars dropping in our laps. Our reward is greater than a standing ovation. Our reward is living blessed... with a peace and grace that only a kingdom stemming from outside of this world can provide. God’s kingdom is the reward. May you live into that today…..and may God’s will be done here on earth as in heaven.
Pastor Michael Williams