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Beatitudes - How Can I Be Blessed? Matt 5:1-12 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Tsang   
Wednesday, 25 April 2018 10:58

 

The Sermon on the Mount (SoM) is a well-loved and perhaps the important portion of Jesus’ teaching. It is clear and simple yet profound and rich. The central theme of the Sermon on the Mount is the values and nature of the Kingdom of Heaven and the discipleship (or way of life) of its citizens. It is in the SoM that we find beautiful passages like the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, treasures in heaven, and a series of choices at the end that invites us to choose to follow Christ.

 

The Beatitudes serve as both an introduction and overview of the SoM. The idea of Blessed is a theme that goes back to creation in Genesis, God’s call to Abraham, Moses in Deut 28, and Psalm 1, and more. Blessed is a gift from God which includes the deeper meaning of happiness (not just the temporary moments of pleasure), human flourishing, thriving, and peace. What is radical in the Beatitudes is how Jesus turned the values of the kingdom of the world upside down in the kingdom of heaven. It is the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted that are blessed and by implication, not those with worldly measures of success, power, and status.

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit. The original group that Jesus preached the SoM to were the economically and materially poor who recognized that their help and salvation comes only from God. The poor, in and of themselves, are not automatically given entrance to the kingdom of heaven. It is the poor ‘in spirit’, those who hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness … for they will be filled. If we find it difficult to identify with the material poor in the first beatitude, then we can certainly learn to be ‘poor in spirit’- the recognition of our own spiritual bankruptcy before God and our desperate need for help and salvation that comes only from God.

 

Each of the rest of the beatitudes can find its origin in the OT:

Mourning – Isa 61:1-3

Meek – Psa 37:10-11

Hunger and thirst for righteousness – Isa 49:10, Psa 33:5

Merciful – Micah 6:8

Pure in Heart – Psa 24:3-4

Peacemakers – Psa 85:10

Persecuted – Psa 119:86

 

Many commentators have proposed a structure to the Beatitudes, some see it as a progression, others see subgroupings but perhaps the best is to simply let this beautiful poetic passage speak for itself. For this week, try and memorize the Beatitudes and treasure them in your heart.

 

Peace and grace, John

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 11:07