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May 23, 2007 / Daniel

Beatitudes

The Beatitudes flip the world upside down (or right side up, depending on your perspective).  The Beatitudes announce that God is giving out blessings to the most unlikely sort of people.  The world thinks that the most happy folks on earth are the strong, the rich, the famous, and the attractive.   But it doesn’t take very long glancing at the tabloids at the grocery store to know that’s not true. 

In the Beatitiudes, Jesus tells the Jewish people that God’s kingdom blessings are for the poor, the mourning, the meek, those who need God’s justice, the merciful, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for Jesus.  Those folks aren’t exactly the people that world blesses.

Just a little side note, the phrase “poor in spirit” is often understood to mean “spiritually poor” (i.e. a realization of the fact that you have nothing to offer God).  While I do think that is a necessary attitude to have, I don’t think that is what Jesus means.  Why?  The gospel of Luke.  Luke just uses the term “poor.”  So I think that here Jesus is also referring to the poor.  “In spirit” just clarifies that this blessing is for Christians that are poor. 

Each beatitude offers a blessing to those who have hurt and broken by the fall.  The beautitudes promise a restored world.  That’s what the kingdom of heaven is all about.  Restoration.  New Creation.  The word “blessing” should make us think of Gen. 12 and the Abrahamic covenant.  In other words, the kingdom message of Jesus is the fulfilment of the promises that God gave Abe.  I take “blessing” to mean a deep satisfaction or happiness that nothing in this world can give.   That’s why we need to hear God’s kingdom message.

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