Monday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 5:1-12; Luke 6:17-26

The Beatitudes; or, the “Blessed’s”

Today we begin our Lord’s “Sermon on the Mount,” the greatest sermon ever preached.  And that sermon begins with the greatest introduction to a sermon ever preached: the “Beatitudes.”  The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin, “beatus,” which is a translation of the Greek word, “makarios.”  The word is rightly translated, “blessed,” in English, carrying the meaning of the joy one has from being a member of the kingdom of God (TDNT, IV:367).  And the kingdom of God (or heaven) is what these “blessed’s” are all about.  We must assume that these are blessed not because they gain the kingdom by manifesting these virtues in the list, but because as they are kingdom members already, they exhibit these virtues.

The list is fairly comprehensive in my opinion.  The poor in spirit are the humble, the beginning of Christian virtue.  It is only through humility we come to Christ, and by humility we stay there.  Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Those are blessed who mourn, assuming they mourn for the right reasons.  It is possible to mourn for the riches of this world.  Here, we are talking about those who have experienced loss either for the kingdom’s sake, or for injustice.  Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ know this firsthand in countries where persecution is real.  They shall be comforted.  The meek are the gentle, the lowly, the humble.  “Meek” does not mean “weak”; the strongest people in the Church are meek.  Their inheritance is great.  Hungering and thirsting for righteousness is just what it says: it means personal holiness and just dealings in our relations with others.  They shall be filled.  Mercy is at the heart of our faith: God is merciful to us; He expects the same of us (Matthew 18:21-35).  The merciful receive mercy.  My personal favorite (because I am so far from it) is purity of heart.  To be pure means to be without any other desires or motives.  It is to will one thing: the kingdom.  Of course they shall see God; it is all they desire.  Peacemakers are desperately needed in our time of divisiveness and partisanship.  We must never relinquish our values, but we can be kind in the way we present them.  Such are God’s children.  Finally, blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’ sake.  Our Lord was slandered and abused.  Why do we feel it should be different for us (John 15:18-21)?  In bearing reproach for the kingdom’s sake, we most emulate our Lord.

These virtues are completely opposite (counter-cultural) to the world.  These virtues the Church must embody.  To do so is to be blessed of God.  Be sure your understanding of being blessed matches up with the Lord’s.

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Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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