Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV)
Chapter 5When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Verse 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Verse 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Verse 4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Verse 5"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Verse 6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Verse 7"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Verse 8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Verse 9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Verse 10"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Verse 11"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Verse 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Here in the season of Epiphany, we encounter the Beatitudes, which begin Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount according to Matthew. Clearly well-loved, they teach the contrast between human nature and Christian principles. I have often referred to them as the “be-attitudes,” how Jesus illumines our understanding of his message.
Enlightenment is very much an Epiphany theme, and the Beatitudes are kind of an attitude-check that leads us to ask that burning question: “What is the secret to being ‘blessed,’ to finding true happiness?” Is it in fame, fortune, and material pursuits? No, claims Jesus; it comes through surrendering our spirit, griefs, and weaknesses to God’s love and grace. It is found through extending mercy and peace to others, through living out a commitment to righteousness in the face of all obstacles. This counter-cultural message may seem difficult to grasp, but to those who have put their trust in Jesus, the reward is a sense of blessing and happiness, as well as confidence in the life to come. May you be blessed today!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your message of blessing that illumines our faith. Help us to do an attitude-check when necessary, so that as Christ-followers we may know the happiness that comes with putting our trust in you. Amen.