Posted by Craig Borlase on 21 April 2017

‘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.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
[Matthew 5:3-12]

You often hear people say that they really like the Sermon on the Mount even though they don’t go to church. It’s a fair comment, but is it the specifics they like, or just this vague sense that Jesus says something about being really, really nice to people?

The Beatitudes are so much more than a collection of vague, fluffy remarks. If you take them that way, they’re a bit odd, a bit patronising of all those poor, mourning and hungry people out there.
But Jesus is not vague. The people he is describing are not ‘out there’. His words are not nice. They’re dangerous.

He is talking to the disciples. He is telling them exactly what to expect in life. He’s prepping them for a life that will encounter poverty, grief, hunger and more. And he’s telling them that when they come face to face with these troubles, they’re not to assume that something’s going wrong or that they are being punished. They’re supposed to see them as a blessing.

And it works the other way too. Wealth, comfort and security are not the signs of a life that is blessed, no matter how much Instagram would have us believe otherwise. So what does it mean to be blessed?

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