Make a hot drink, settle into a comfy chair and take some time to read through the following devotion that Pastor Milton has written for you…
You might like to start with this prayer:
God – it is good to spend time with you. Calm my thoughts. Help me to hear you. Thank you for coming into my life in this moment. Amen
Read through this verse slowly. Pause and read it again.
Stay with it for a moment. What stands out to you?
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in 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 receive 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 for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12).
Jesus has begun his public ministry. As a result of his preaching and teaching, large crowds are following him. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: (Matthew 5:2). The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ solemn inaugural address. The Sermon on the Mount sets the tone for the rest of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. The Sermon on the Mount is directed to Jesus’ followers. Initially to his disciples, then to the church.
The Sermon on the Mount begins with the word: Blessed! The opening section of the Sermon on the Mount is called The Beatitudes which comes from the Latin beatus, from which we get our English word: blessed!
Who are the blessed ones of God according to the Sermon on the Mount? Those who are waiting for God are truly blessed. The first four Beatitudes speak of waiting for God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3). The Greek word for poor literally means a “beggar.” Like a beggar, those who are poor in spirit have nothing that they can bring to God. The poor in spirit is someone who relies on God for everything relating to their life. As Christians, we believe that all we have is a gift from God. Those who wait on God as truly poor in spirit will receive the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4). Those who mourn refers to those who mourn over their sins. It also means mourning for those things that cause sorrow. Things such as war, natural disasters, death in the family. Jesus promised those who are mourning and who are waiting on God, that they will be comforted by the one who rose from the dead.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5). A meek person is someone who is gentle, kind and forgiving. A meek person puts up with the failings and faults of others. Jesus promises that the meek will inherit the earth. This points to a new order of things that is hinted at by Jesus’ actions of compassion and healing. We see a glimpse of this new order in the gentle, kind, forgiving and loving actions of the truly meek.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6). These are people who hunger, or long for the righteousness of Christ. Such people receive the gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.
We see the nature and person of Jesu behind these four Beatitudes.
The next four Beatitudes describe a being, an attitude resulting from God’s action.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. (Matthew 5:7). Those who are merciful are loving and kind. Mercy is shown when someone doesn’t insist on their own rights and are willing to forgo them if it means helping someone who is in a worse situation than them. Jesus’ promise is that those who are merciful, will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8). Jesus is talking about those who are open and honest in their words and actions. There is no duplicity or craftiness evident in their lives. Only the pure in heart can see the One who is truly pure.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9). Peacemakers bring about peace and reconciliation between themselves and others. Promoting peace, like mercy is part of the nature of God. God reconciled the world to himself through Jesus Christ. God wants us to live at peace with God and with one another.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:9). This Beatitude stands as a bookend to the first Beatitude. Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake means the same as for Jesus’ sake. Paul knew what it meant to be persecuted for Jesus’ sake. Paul willingly endured persecution because he: rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:12). The reward is the reward of God’s grace.
As with the first four Beatitudes, we see the nature and person of Jesus behind these last four Beatitudes.
Remember that the Beatitudes are all about God’s blessings to his saved people. As God’s saved people, our desire is to live as God’s blessed people. This means that the Beatitudes and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, together with all of Jesus’ teaching are a pattern of the way of life expected of Jesus’ followers. They point to the way of life that we are to live as a child of God. Do we live this life perfectly. The answer is NO! However, as the one who is poor in spirit, we turn back to our gracious God seeking his reassurance of forgiveness.
You and I have been blessed just as God promised.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for becoming poor for our sakes.
Bless us who are poor in spirit,
and make us children of your kingdom.
You may like to add any other prayers that are on your heart.