Staying TrueOur ability to stand in the midst of trials will depend on the focus of our gaze.
Top Christian Music Videos
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted (v.4).
It’s likely we’ve read Jesus’ Beatitudes as a list of virtues— attitudes and actions that He wants us to pursue. So, we think, He wants us to be humble (Matthew 5:5), merciful (v.7), pure in heart (v.8), and peaceful (v.9).
These are wonderful qualities to have. If we’re to be consistent in reading the Beatitudes this way, however, some of these “virtues” become tricky. Does Jesus really want us to mourn (v.4) or to be persecuted and insulted? (vv.10-11). (Some have said we should mourn over our sins, but this is not actually said in the text.) This way of reading the Beatitudes can also lead to a works-based understanding of salvation. If we’re humble, gentle, merciful, and so on, we assume that God will then “bless” us.
Perhaps Jesus was making a different point. Luke’s recording of the Beatitudes makes it clear that Jesus was not addressing people who thought they were poor, hungry, or sad, but people who literally were (Luke 6:17).
This has led commentators like Dallas Willard to suggest that Jesus’ Beatitudes are not a list of virtues but a list of “outcasts” rejected by society but “blessed” by Jesus (the people mentioned in Matthew 4:23). They were spiritually impoverished (5:3), sad (v.4), shy and prone to abuse (v.5), seeking but denied justice (v.6), ridiculed for being merciful or living by their strict conscience (vv.7-8), peacemakers instead of political radicals (v.9), and those persecuted for doing right or following Jesus (vv.10-11). All such people were “written off” by both the secular society and religious elite of Jesus’ day.
If this is what Jesus was saying, then the message of the Beatitudes is radical. Jesus welcomes all whom society rejects. Today that would include murderers, molesters, drug dealers, or the homeless, mentally ill, and overweight people.
Jesus ignores the world’s popularity lists. He takes anyone who will come to Him.
Read Mary’s inspiring “magnificat” (also known as the song of Mary) in Luke 1:46 to see the way God reverses the fortunes of those who are despised by the world.
What hopeless or “written off” people do you know? How can you be as gracious toward them as Jesus is to you?
- Staying True - Our ability to stand in the midst of trials will depend on the focus of our gaze....read more
- Write Your Epitaph - How are you growing in your faith and the proclaiming of it?...read more
- What Happens in the End - Are you feeling hopeless and weary? Be reminded of what happens in the end!...read more
- Stop Painting Your Bucket - Who you are is who you are in Jesus....read more
- What We Have - When do you feel most grateful?...read more
- God's Perspective - What has God called you to do that might appear to be too challenging?...read more
- More than Walking on Water - Do you ever find yourself focusing more on what God can do than on who He is?...read more
- The Spirit’s Wind - In what areas of your life have you been laboring in your own strength instead of God’s power?...read more
- Laying Down Your Life - What does it mean for you to embrace Jesus as the One who laid down His life for you?...read more
- Hidden Costs - What are some ways you can avoid falling prey to Satan’s hidden costs this week?...read more
- Limits - How often are you weary or stressed from church work?...read more
- Healing Prayer - Why is it important for us to bring our pain and suffering to God?...read more
- Pleasing God in the Mundane - Do you sometimes feel drained by serving God and others?...read more
- Avoiding Mean Streets - In what ways have you been entering deeper into God’s wisdom or moving farther away from it?...read more
- The Presence of Jesus - What past or current sinful choice has caused you to experience shame?...read more
- When We See Jesus - Do you long to see Jesus?...read more