Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others 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 so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5: 1-12 is easily one of the most recognizable passages in all of scripture. It’s beautifully written and full of hope. But it’s definitely a passage that I skim when I read through the Bible. I mostly know it by heart, so to read through it can feel rote.
But not today. Today I was reminded of the fact that, if I’m honest, I don’t identify with the type of person Jesus is talking about. I think very highly of myself. I do not mourn over my sin. I pretend to be strong. I hunger and thirst for lots of things but rarely is righteousness one of them. I am not merciful toward others. My heart is certainly not pure. I like to keep the peace, but I almost never pursue it. And I am virtually never persecuted, reviled, hated, or spoken falsely against for any reason, let alone for the sake of Jesus.
For someone like me, what is the hope to be found in these words?
The hope is that Jesus has been all of these things for me. He became poor that I might become rich. He was a man of sorrows so that I might live in the joy of the Lord. He displayed the strength of God in the weakness of man. He was fully righteous because I could never be. His mercy is endless even toward the merciless. He was the our and spotless lamb who died to save this sinful man. He made peace between God and I through the blood of His cross. He was persecuted, beaten, bruised, broken, reviled, betrayed, scorned, mocked, tortured, and killed for my sake so that I might live for ever in for His glory.
That’s the hope of this passage for me and for you as well. We are blessed because Jesus has been all that we can’t be and has paid for the places we fall short.
Awesome, awesome news.