Monday 31 January 2022

Bible Book:

'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.' (v. 6)

Matthew 5:1-12 Monday 31 January 2022

Psalm 68:1-20


This is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount: a dense collection of Jesus’ teaching that is unique to Matthew and extends through chapters 5–7. Jesus escapes the crowds by climbing a mountain. When he sits down, his disciples gather round him and Jesus instructs them about how those who follow him should live. His message is radical, surprising and challenging. It overturns many expectations of those who first heard him. It continues to have the power to shock and bewilder readers today. The question of what the Sermon on the Mount means for how Christians should live has been hotly debated throughout the history of the Church and Christians continue to disagree about it today.

This first section of the Sermon on the Mount is known as the Beatitudes. It is a set of nine sayings, identifying different groups as favoured by God and explaining why. They are exclamations: what the New Revised Standard Version translates as ‘Blessed’ here could also be rendered as ‘How blessed…!’ or ‘How happy…!’

Many of the Beatitudes are counter-intuitive, beginning the pattern of a world turned upside-down that is evident throughout the Sermon on the Mount. We do not usually think that those who mourn or who are persecuted are fortunate, but that is what Jesus teaches here. The message that the meek will inherit the earth also overturns expectations in a world in which more and more wealth is concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest.

Jesus’ Beatitudes make clear that those who follow him will need to transform their view of the world. To accept his teaching is to set aside a very great part of dominant attitudes in the world at large about who are in the best positions. God’s blessing does not follow the pattern of worldly expectations. To seek true happiness, the followers of Christ should be humble, meek, long for justice, show mercy, pursue peace, and be prepared to accept persecution for the sake of justice.


To Ponder:

  • Which of the Beatitudes seem most surprising to you?
  • Which are most in tension with prevailing attitudes today?
  • Does this passage change your view of what should be the most important life-goals for Christians?
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