Sermon on the Mount

Beatitudes

This devotional is written by Hannah-Rivkah Perkin.

Matthew 5:1-12

5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said:
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 be shown 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 because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Reflection

Although it might seem it at first, the beatitudes are not conditions of salvation or a google map that will enable you to enter God’s kingdom. 

Each of the beatitudes begin with the word ‘blessed’ - a word which affirms the state of blessing that already exists. Each statement declares that these groups of people, who are normally seen as afflicted, are actually blessed. Those blessed groups do not have to do anything to attain their blessing because the beatitudes are declarations of God’s grace. They are blessings given as a result of God coming close to us - they are given to us by his kingdom.

Although the meaning of each beatitude is well worth exploring, let’s focus on verse 6: ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’. 

In ancient Judaism, righteousness meant "to acquit, vindicate, and restore to right relationship." As such, righteousness is about being in right relationship with God and those around us.

The writer of Psalm 42 puts their desire for God beautifully well; ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.’

The more we are in right relationship with God, spending time with him in prayer and worship and being filled by the Holy Spirit, the more we become like Christ. This Christ-likeness enables us to be more loving and merciful towards others. It enables us to be in right relationship with the people around us.

Pray

Lord, place in me a thirst to improve my relationship with you. Forgive me for when I have wronged you and others. Put in me a desire to be more loving towards to the people I work, live and spend time with. 

Lord, I want to care deeply when relationships are going wrong - please disturb me when they are in disarray and use me to help heal and restore right relationship.

Amen.

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