When Jesus sat down to teach on the mountains, He undertook to communicate to those who listened what the Kingdom of God was really like. The Sermon on the Mount, which contained what we call the Beatitudes, was a powerful, timeless, foundational teaching. The Beatitudes were a series of proverb-like statements which each described an attitude, then a result of that approach to life.
If Jesus gave us no less than a road map to blessings in this message, and I believe He did, then it’s worth a fresh look at this familiar teaching. Otherwise, as we often do with things we’ve heard over and over, we’ll run right past a passage that has the power (when appiied, of course!) to change our lives. This is the first of a series on these “Be (Blessed) Attitudes.”
I invite you now to get an overview of what we’ll be studying the next several days by going to Matthew 5: 1-12. Read it first in the Biblical translation with which you are most familiar. Also read it in The Message and The Amplified Bible. To do such comparisons, I use Biblegateway.com. By typing in the passage, then using the drop-down box, you can read the passage in any translation. Biblegateway.com is a wonderful tool! Get in the habit of using it; you’ll love it.
Each of the Beatitudes talks about being blessed. The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin “beatus,” which means to be happy, fortunate, or blissful. However, “blessed” far exceeds happiness. Happiness can be dependent on circumstances; you’re happy when something good happens. What Jesus is giving us here are ways to live above your circumstances. To be blessed is to have an inner joy and peace that comes from being right with God, from knowing that He is constant, even when your life situations go south, and from living in the power of dependence on God. The Amplified Bible translates “blessed” as “happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous – with life-joy and satisfacon in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of outward conditions.” Wow, I want that, don’t you?
What we are about to study together is no less than Jesus’ seminal teachings on spirituality, mercy, and compassion, which contain in them the blessings of God. We’re going to learn what righteousness looks like. Far from being rigid, cold religion, Jesus’ righteousness (which belongs to every believer) is alive and beautifully functioning to both help us succeed and to enable us to be used to help others become healthy and successful in life.
Don’t miss a single “blessing” in this series. In the next post, we’ll discuss a term that has always puzzled me, being “poor in spirit.” How can it be a blessing to be poor? We’ll talk about that tomorrow.
Lord, how we need to know about the attitudes and actions we need to experience true blessings. May we open our eyes, ears, and hearts to Your instructions. Teach us about the culture of Your Kingdom, even when it runs counter to the culture in which we humanly live.