Matthew 5:1-12 Blessed Now

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
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.

Blessed Now

Jesus, you announced that those who mourn will be comforted.  The Kingdom life means that those who regret sin will overcome sin.  I often feel like I am not good enough.  I believe I am a citizen of your kingdom, but I lack the joy and peace of heaven that should exist in spite of my circumstances.  I am so easily swayed by events around me and it breaks down my relationship with you.  I want to be attuned to your thinking, your heart, your desires.  I want to have a sense of your affirmation and your encouragement moment by moment.  I get distracted, though, I drop relational mode for task mode and then I get things accomplished but I am disconnected from others and you.  I am even estranged from myself.

I live in a task culture.  It’s not blessed.  It’s a curse.  I have more and more bought in to the lie that I must accomplish tasks to be a valuable person.  I know that is not true, but I slip into a mode of trying to please others by doing.  You, our Father, and others around me become task masters who I am afraid of and don’t like.  There’s always one more thing that needs doing and I have never done enough.  It’s then that I want to just be left alone.  However, your kingdom is not like that.  I want to know you in the way you really are and not the caricature I have made of taskmaster or distant ‘idea’.  I want to accept blessing.  I want to receive grace.  I want to believe that I am healed and worth all that you say I am.  That would be to accept good news.

Questions

  1. How is Kingdom of Heaven used as an ‘inclusio’ (look up inclusio if you need to)?
  2. How would you define ‘blessed’?
  3. Who would be encouraged by this passage and why?
  4. If this passage describes the natural condition on Kingdom citizens, which elements particularly resonate with you?
  5. How is citizenship in God’s kingdom right now both bitter and sweet?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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