Some of it sounds a bit absurd. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Understanding that "blessed" literally means "happy," does it make sense to be happy when I am poor in spirit? Some of it sounds a bit disheartening. "Blessed are the pure in heart." Well, great, but what if I know I’m not so pure in heart? Rather than happy and "blessed," I feel guilt and failure for not meeting that ideal. These "blessed" statements come from what’s called the Sermon on the Mount, the longest address of Jesus recorded in the Bible. (Matthew chapters 5-7) The reactions to it that I shared are honest reactions we may have if we don’t really know Jesus, why He came, and the grace He offers us. A Christian professor put it into perspective when her students (who didn’t know Jesus) reacted similarly to the Sermon on the Mount: 'How could they see it any other way if they didn’t know Jesus Christ, because it’s through Jesus Christ that the Sermon on the Mount has meaning to us.'
I invite you to join me for a closer look at the blessing statements from the first several verses of the Sermon on the Mount, which I’ll cover over the next few weeks. But if we are to understand what Jesus says, we must first get to know Him. That’s why God has given us the Bible, of which Jesus says, "These are the Scriptures that testify about me." (John 5:39) Through the Bible we get to know Jesus, and as we get to know Jesus, the more we come to understand the Bible. In the same way, the best way for me to get to know you is to spend time with you, and the more I do, the more I understand you. It’s all about relationship and context. So it is with the Bible. So much more than information, it is the living testimony of God to draw you into an everlasting relationship with Himself. It is "the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son… And this is His testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." (I John 5:9,11) You'll better understand the Sermon on the Mount and all of the Bible when you see that the Son of God came to die for our sins and rise again so that "repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name." (Luke 24:47) This is our starting point for understanding these blessing statements of Jesus. Through it all you will find that TRUE HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN JESUS ALONE.
See how true happiness is found in Jesus alone through the "BLESSED" series.
INTRO, POOR, MOURN, MEEK, HUNGER, MERCIFUL, PURE, PEACEMAKERS, PERSECUTED
Come visit us at CHRIST OUR REDEEMER for more of this message of God's grace!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.