I’m excited to be embarking on a new mini-series this Spring centring on the Beatitudes. God has been impressing the Sermon on the Mount on me for some time now and I’m excited and curious to begin to explore the beginning of this most famous of Jesus’ sermons. Excited because of what God will stir in us – and curious because I can only guess what the Spirit has in store! Why not follow along in your own personal times of reading and prayer as well as in your House Groups. The Beatitudes are found in Matthew 5.
We will look at the context of the Beatitudes – which are sometimes read as prescriptive rather than descriptive. What I mean by this is that often we read them like Jesus is saying “if you are like this, then one day you’ll be happy (or blessed)”. Kind of like a stick and carrot – just stick through this trouble that you’re in and you’ll be happy once you get through it… or worse… God will bless you more because you’ve suffered more. But this isn’t how they’re meant to be read! They are descriptive – meaning that Jesus is saying blessed are you right now if you’re mourning, or poor in spirit, or seeking peace, etc. It is the Kingdom come right now in the midst of these circumstances we find ourselves in. It is the hope of the Gospel – that the Holy Spirit comes in the middle of our muck and brings fresh perspective, healing and courage to help us keep moving forward. This is not a triumphalistic vague promise of a better time to come, nor is it a blind denial of our actual present circumstances. Rather it is a radical call to follow Jesus. It is a call to trust him with our very lives and follow him in the midst of all that this world can throw at us! It is a call to take Jesus seriously in the here and now and to reorient our lives around his upside-down, inside-out invitation as described in the Sermon on the Mount.
Image Credit: “The Sermon on the Mount” by Károly Ferenczy