Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

 

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Matthew 5:1-12

 

What are we to make of these upside down teachings of Jesus?

 

We are tempted to point out to him how naïve he is about how the world really works.  In the real world, the “blessed” are those who have it all together, who are happy, who have it all together.  The “blessed” are those who make lots of money, live in nice houses, and live easy lives.

 

Those who are merciful and pure in heart are the simple-minded, the people who just don’t understand how the world really works.

 

We could say a lot about people who are persecuted or reviled – but we would likely not say they are “blessed.”

 

So what is the problem with Jesus?  How can he not see that?  How can he not clearly see what is so obvious to us?

 

And that is often where we stop.  We stop at wondering what the problem is with Jesus.  But not today.  Not this morning.  This morning we are going to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt.  THIS morning we are going to be open to the possibility that there is nothing at all wrong with Jesus.  In fact, we are going to be open to the idea that Jesus knows exactly what he is talking about. 

 

WE are the ones with the upside down ways of thinking.  This changes everything.

 

Those who mourn will see in death the gate to eternal life.  The meek, the pure in heart, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be able to fend off the tempting voices of idolatry that promise freedom but deliver only bondage.  And those who are persecuted for Jesus’ sake will find themselves on the cutting edge of truth and life.

 

Oh the freedom that is ours when we know the One who holds our lives in the palm of his hand.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, fill us this morning with the vision of life that is truly life, with the life that is only found in surrendering ourselves to you.  Hold us close as we cling to you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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