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In recent Sunday Gospels, Matthew

  • records God’s confirmation that Jesus has a mission from God.
  • prepared for that mission in the desert.
  • announced his mission,
  • began to preach in hostile territory and
  • recruited ordinary people to help spread the good news.

 In the sermon on the mount, Jesus flips the script to show how different his mission was from what ordinary people expected.

Flipping the script

In his first major sermon, Jesus names a group of people normally thought to be unfortunate and of no account. He pronounces them “blessed.”  Huh?

Jesus talks about people who are discouraged, mourning, meek, hungry, etc. These are people we usually feel sorry for, right? We don’t really think of such people being happy.

Now, how many of us are tired of the vision this world offers; weary of trying to compete with everyone else; disgusted with the arrogant shouting coming from both sides of the political spectrum? Jesus has a vision of life for you. It’s different from anything else out there because Jesus is different from anyone else out there.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus turns everything upside down…. What the world fears begins to make sense at a higher level. Jesus says they are the ones who are blessed. This is a radically countercultural vision of life that calls for thinking differently.

Eight insights

“Poor spirit“… means we realize how desperately we need God. Jesus invites us to a life where we know we’re not that great…and that’s really okay. We are blessed.

Meek”Jesus was incredibly powerful…but it was a humble and gentle kind of power. This is becoming increasingly hard for our culture to grasp.

“Mourn” …  This means that you notice the suffering around you, and you allow it to affect you personally, and emotionally just as Jesus did. There’s a softness to your heart. You feel people’s pain with them.

“Hunger and thirst for justice”…. When you look at the world do you see that things are not the way they should be, are you okay with that…or do you hunger and thirst and long for things to be different – for righteousness?

“Merciful”… these are the kind of people who will be shown mercy by God.

Jesus continues…

“Pure in heart”… To be pure in heart means that you have one overriding desire that rules your life. One great love that orders all your other loves. Jesus said the most important commandment in all the Scriptures is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, so purity of heart means to be driven by that desire.

“Peacemakers” … Jesus came to this earth to bring peace between people and God. When we follow him, we become passionate for peace between people in our lives. It bothers us when people are estranged and angry with each other.

“Persecuted because of righteousness” If we never get any pushback, or ridicule, or opposition for believing this vision, it means we’re being people-pleasers instead of Christ-followers. It’s actually an honor to be treated like Jesus was treated.

This is a vision of what life can look like when we’re walking in God’s kingdom, following Jesus as king. It’s not the kind of life you see in many Hollywood movies or Netflix series.

It’s different because Jesus and the Kingdom are different. But it is truly the good life. So the only remaining question is: how do we live this kind of life?

Do you fit in this kingdom?

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