Who doesn’t want to be blessed? To be blessed is a pursuit many strive after and towards. Yet, a problem resides. A faulty view of how blessings come and what kind of blessings come penetrate minds and hearts. It is believed to be based on what we do and the external is what we receive. Over the next couple of months we will be studying Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5-7, what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. We will see what it looks like to live in the kingdom of God. Notice, what the teaching of Jesus is not doing here: He is not speaking on how to enter the kingdom or how to remain in it. That is the faulty view. Matthew 4:17-22 shows us we cannot enter by our own merits; it is only through repentance and following Christ. Once we have trusted in Christ, we are shown a description of this kingdom life. The first characteristic found in the people of God is that they are a blessed people. However, as we understand we don’t enter the kingdom on our own merits, but Christ’s, we likewise find these blessings to be atypical to what we think of as blessings. To be poor in spirit, to mourn, and to be meek (verses 3-5) are not generally thought to be represented in a positive light. But if we recognize our need, if we recognize our sin and mourn over it, we will be blessed. As followers of Christ, we reflect His character in mercy, purity, and peace (verses 7-9). Blessings are not merely external but internal. They get to the heart of the matter, so to speak. Truly, blessed people “are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (verse 6). What may be the most surprising description of blessing for God’s people is persecution and enduring evil for the sake of the kingdom. This statement of blessing in persecution is especially relevant in our day and age, as we have brothers and sisters in Christ facing death for their faith and we are facing a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity. Even so, there is joy to be found in the reward and in the identification with other people of God for facing persecution (verse 12). To sum it up, truly blessed people are not found so by the world’s standards but by the Word’s standards.
- Read Matthew 5:3-12 again. How are you recognizing your need and reflecting the Lord’s character as a blessed person in Christ?