Our scripture this week is Matthew 5:1-12.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “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. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus had much to tell us in just a few statements. These are the first things we hear Him say in the Gospel recorded by Matthew, and therefore they must be important. He teaches us that we are blessed in a variety of ways when we follow the path God has planned for us.
Each of these blessings come from being obedient, and while many of the ways to receive them don’t seem pleasant, they are necessary for the kingdom of God to come upon the earth. Jesus is laying out the pattern of behavior for those who would follow Him, teaching new ways of seeing what God has intended all along. Jesus doesn’t say God’s laws have changed – God is constant and unchanging – He is living out what God always had in mind for His children so that we can see them in action.
We must look at these in our own lives and our world to find ways of living them out as well. Jesus didn’t tell us to merely know these things but that we must go do them. The Beatitudes are new statements of purpose for those who want to be true followers of the Master.
Loving Lord, we still stumble and struggle to make Your will ours. Help us to be stronger each day, finding in Your word the guidance we seek to be Your children. Amen.