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. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10
In the Bible, there are two words used for “blessed.” One is a word we would use to request a blessing from the Lord, such as “O Lord would you bless our family and our home.” As important as that form of blessing is, it isn’t the kind of blessing Jesus is speaking to in the Sermon on the Mount.
The Beatitudes are a pronunciation of blessing that is already present, even if circumstances seem to say otherwise. They remind us that, in the Kingdom of God, values get turned upside down. Things that the world says are to be pitied, rejected, and dismissed are in God’s kingdom sources of joy, hope, and peace.
In this passage, Jesus isn’t saying that we should try and seek these things out so that we can get a positive outcome, such as “I seek out mourning so I can be comforted.” That’s twisted logic! Jesus is instead saying, “You who find yourself mourning, you right now in your grief and sorrow are in fact already a blessed person.” Why? Because you will be comforted. “You who are hungry and thirsty for what is right, for what is good and true, you right now are a blessed person.” Why? Because even though you may not see it right now, your hunger and your thirst will be satisfied. Evil and injustice will never win, it will never have the last word.
In this great sermon from Jesus we are given a vision of the world as it truly is, not as we assume it to be or are often told it to be. And if it is true of the world around us, it must also become our primary identity and the way that we make sense of the world and our place in it. May God give us the grace to repent of the ways we’ve been blind to his kingdom values. May we have the humility to say that we’re wrong and that we are the ones who need to change, not him.
This week, the Lord is inviting you and me to take time for honest self-reflection and assessment. Are we willing to be honest and say before the Lord, “This is who I am. In these certain ways I know that I’m in line with your kingdom values, but in these other ways I know I am not.” May we repent of the ways that we cling to affluence, power, and comfort, and ask the Spirit to free our hearts from these disordered loves!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, just as you opened your mouth and taught your first disciples so many years ago, would you speak your word to us afresh today. Bring both comfort and conviction and find us faithful and let us not grow weary as we anticipate your coming kingdom.