March 8, 2012: The Sixteenth Day of Lent

March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Blessed are…” ~ Matthew 5.3-12 ~

Rather than continuing on in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, let’s take some time and reflect upon what we have read in the Beatitudes. Christ did not intend for the Beatitudes to be read like snapshots or bullet points, but instead he wanted them to be seen in a progression. As we continue in discipleship, we can look for these things to begin to happen in us.

Becoming poor in spirit is our entry point. When we recognize our own spiritual bankruptcy, we have taken our first steps into the Kingdom. Blessed are we.

Mourning our own brokenness and the brokenness of others is a Kingdom-response to recognizing ourselves in our true state apart from God. He brings us comfort. Blessed are we.

God uses this mourning and recognition to change how we treat others; with gentleness, for we all need to be treated with loving care and grace. This is how it will be in Christ’s eternal kingdom. Blessed are we.

In addition to gentleness, God uses the mourning and recognition to cause us to crave redemption; that is, proper relationship with God and others. He will see to it. Blessed are we.

As part of this proper relationship, God, Mercy himself, brings about merciful behavior in us. We have been shown mercy, and so we extend it. In the Kingdom of Heaven, mercy is the rule, not the exception. Blessed are we.

We desire our spiritual filth and sin to be washed away; we rejoice in our relationship with Purity himself, and are cleansed by his touch. Blessed are we.

In addition to righteousness, gentleness, and mercy, we are to be ambassadors of peace. This peace is evidence of our relationship with God; it marks us as those who have been in his presence. Blessed are we.

The enemy will not let this life-changing process go unopposed, and we are still waiting for the Kingdom of Heaven to come completely. But until then, we stand against the earthly powers that be and bring the Kingdom in what ways we can. Blessed are we.

Slander, untrue accusations, and other kinds of abuse lay in wait for Christians all around the globe; yet, believers who suffer are blessed, for their allegiance belongs to that which does not fade.

This section, placed at the beginning of the sermon, acts as the foundation for all that is to follow. Jesus will speak of relationships, the Law, and proper living, to name a few. When we need help to interpret Christ’s message later in the sermon, we can return to the Beatitudes and see what they have to say. Since they act as the starting point for all that follows, they will be able to shed light on what comes after.

For today, let us surrender to the process. Let us be ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven. This means that we will be given opportunities to be such. Like it or not, we will get chances to be gentle, merciful, peacemakers. We will have chances to be pure in heart. We will also get chances to experience opposition. Yet, we are blessed; we are living in the Kingdom of Heaven, before it has come completely.

Lord Christ, I think of who I am and I realize that I still have very far to go when it comes to living as you have called me to. It’s just not comfortable and easy to be your disciple. But I can see that it is worth it. Lord, strengthen me to act as your ambassador in each situation as it comes. Not my power, but yours in me, Lord. Amen. 

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