In the Beatitudes, Jesus wasn’t giving us a list of rules to follow so that we could be blessed. Jesus was declaring whom the kingdom of heaven was for. He was announcing good news—that those that the world considers cursed are actually blessed because the kingdom of heaven has come near.
THIS EPISODE’S HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- The core of Jesus’ message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
- “Repent” comes from the Greek word metanoia, which means, “turn around, change your mind.”
- Why repent? Because “the kingdom heaven has come near.”
- “The kingdom of heaven” doesn’t refer to the afterlife or the end of the world. It refers to the reign and rule of God, that realm of reality in which God’s will is done.
- What kinds of people started following Jesus? The sick, diseased, paralyzed, lame, blind, and so forth. People who would have been considered cursed by God.
- Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the word, “Blessed.” In Greek, this is the word makarios.
- Makarios refers to a kind of well-being that is almost beyond human possibility.
- The people to whom Jesus was speaking would never have been considered makarios. Yet, Jesus says they are.
- “Poor in spirit” refers, not to a virtue to be pursued, but a spiritual poverty.
- The Beatitudes are an announcement of the kind of people who belong in the kingdom of heaven; the kind of people for whom the kingdom of heaven has come.
- The “rich in spirit” are blessed, too. But not because they are “rich in spirit.” They are blessed because the kingdom of heaven is for them, too.
- The Beatitudes are not a list of rules. They are a declaration of who the kingdom of heaven is for.
- The first four Beatitudes refer to qualities of which we would say, “They can’t be blessed.”
- The next three Beatitudes refer to the kinds of qualities that emerge in us as we live out the reality of the kingdom of heaven.
- As we live out the reality of the kingdom of heaven, others will push back, even persecute us.
- Even when I feel like I’m not blessed, God sees something in me that I don’t see in myself.
- We take God’s kingdom with us into our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our fields.