Have you heard that word, Beatitude, before? Do you know what it means? The Google dictionary says “supreme blessedness.” For the purpose of our text, it represents the blessings spoken by Jesus. It’s such a beautiful passage. In our last reading, we hear how people are following Jesus, gathering crowds where ever he goes. Today’s text looks, in particular, at one of those days.
Picture this. The crowd was gathering, and Jesus was ready to teach. He went up the mountainside and sat down with his disciples gathered around. Everyone was ready to hear what Jesus had to say. Today was special. Jesus is about to preach a sermon that will rock their world. He starts with the blessings.
If you followed my link to read this text, you read it in the New Living Translation. You may note that it says “God blesses those who…” More traditional translations employ the Divine passive, as does the Greek text, “Blessed are the…” For me, just saying God’s name as the source of our blessing makes it more powerful. These are the special blessings promised to someone with a particular quality.
Let’s take a look. We have blessings for the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the humble, the ones seeking justice (being right with God), the merciful, the pure in heart, ones who seek peace, and those who do what is right and are persecuted. That’s quite a list. I’m sure you’ve found yourself in that list, maybe a couple of times over.
Receiving a blessing from God is the ultimate gift. We need to align our character with these descriptions if we are seeking God’s blessing. We need to rely on God and not be proud and arrogant. We need to do what we can to be right with God’s will (seeking justice). This is not the justice of men.
To be merciful and show others mercy can be difficult when we are at odds with them or they have harmed us in some way. Focus on how God shows mercy and grace to us when we are wayward and hard-hearted. That’s why having a pure heart can be so difficult. When we let our selfish desires run loose, we miss out on mercy and peace. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a child of God and look forward to seeing his face.
Probably the one that resonates with me most is the one about being persecuted for our faith. We’re supposed to be happy about it! A reward in heaven awaits us, and that’s something special. We are not alone. God’s people have taken the heat for generations. We shouldn’t expect a trouble-free life as a follower of Christ. The world will challenge us every step of the way.
When push comes to shove, how would you respond if someone was persecuting you? Have you ever felt in danger because you’re a Christ-follower? I can’t say I’ve felt in danger, but I’m sure I’ve been laughed at. And do you know what? That’s okay. I am happy about it. But I’m also sad at the same time for those who laughed. They don’t know the peace that passes all understanding. They don’t have the hope of salvation.
So how are you feeling today? Perhaps grateful? With all of God’s blessings available to us, we should be overflowing with gratitude. Take some time today to feel the joy.
Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you for all the blessings you have given me. As I look around, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I love that you have given me a boldness to share my faith with others. I thank you for the musical gifts you have given me and look forward to each moment I use them to worship you. Use me and my words to help others know you more and desire a deeper relationship with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.