Sunday 30 October 2011

Bible Book:

"Blessed are you when people revile 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 the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (vv. 11-12)

Matthew 5:1-12 Sunday 30 October 2011


These words of Jesus, which he shared with his disciples, havebecome known as 'the Beatitudes'. The word 'beatitude' comes fromthe Latin word 'beatus', meaning blessed. They come at thebeginning of a selection of teachings of Jesus, known as 'TheSermon on the Mount'. This event could have taken place on thehills around Galilee as the disciples sat with Jesus, but somepeople believe that Matthew has gathered together, as a literarydevice, the teachings of Jesus that occurred throughout his lifeinto the next few chapters. Here we find a code of ethics andguidance for all aspects of life for the followers of Jesus, withstories and teaching on everything from fasting to adultery, fromprayer to the use of possessions, as well as living as light in theworld.

But we begin with a reminder of the values of the kingdom of God,of the people who find themselves blessed by God, and of God'spurposes. At the start of his ministry Jesus had to ensure that thedisciples were aware that his ministry and work were not aboutbuilding a human kingdom, or overthrowing the Roman rule by force,but about living as people who were seeking to live in God'skingdom: a kingdom where meekness, purity, mercy, forgiveness,peace and goodness would be found. These were the attributes inpeople's lives that God would be able to bless, even whencircumstances were difficult.

As well as the affirmation of God's blessing, in the final versesthere is a warning for the disciples about the future. Even thoughthey will try to live lives that will be blessed by God they willbe misunderstood and persecuted. Yet even then they can rejoice andbe glad, secure in the knowledge that they are walking God'sway.

To Ponder

Like the disciples we are called to follow a pathof peacemaking, mercy, rejoicing and purity of heart. Which ofGod's blessings speak to the circumstances of your life today?

If you have experienced being challenged byothers 'on Jesus' account', what helps you reach that state ofbeing able to 'rejoice and be glad'?

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