“Blessed are the...” Matthew 5:3-11
Last Sunday we introduced the Sermon on the Mount as a whole found in Matthew 5-7, and this Sunday we will introduce the first section of the Sermon known as the Beatitudes. As we read this opening section, we find Jesus begins not with words of judgment or condemnation, but with eight declarations of blessedness.
One of my favorite things said during last week’s message was that the Sermon on the Mount doesn’t teach us how to attain salvation, rather it teaches those who have salvation how to have a blessed life. The Beatitudes functions as a checklist of sorts of what a blessed life looks like. If we feel lost, burdened or just downright unfulfilled with our Christianity, we can approach the Beatitudes and ask ourselves where our own ambitions and desires stray from what Jesus taught was a blessed life.
When reading the Beatitudes it’s integral to know the context. Jesus was speaking to His followers, and the reason He had to describe what a blessed life looked like was because they had become so distracted by their own ideas of blessedness they didn’t realize how far they had strayed from the heart of God.
Sinclair Ferguson wrote, “Jesus’ voice needs to be heard again by Christians. How far we stray from His view of things! What is your heart set on as vital for your life and your character? What eight things do you most want to see developed in your life? Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to make a list. Does it compare favorably with what Jesus says? Does the list include poverty of spirit, meekness, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, a peacemaking spirit, and a willingness to be persecuted for the sake of Jesus? Or do you think that real blessing is really to be found elsewhere?”
I encourage us all to take seriously what Ferguson wrote and to ask ourselves these important questions. This will help prepare our hearts and minds for this Sunday as we begin teaching the Beatitudes.
God bless you all and hope to see you there!