The first in a series of posts about Jesus’ teaching about real blessing found at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus begins by offering up a list of what are known as “beatitudes.”
So, you might be wondering, “What is a beatitude?”
A beatitude is an expression or a description of something that serves as a blessing.
What Jesus was seeking to teach in the early verses of Matthew 5 is how to discover the deepest, most fulfilling sources of blessing in life.
Based on the Greek word used in the text, we could also translate it as “rich.”
But for most of us, we often equate being rich with how much money we have in our wallet.
The word Greek word used for blessing here in Matthew 5 is makairos, which speaks of those who in society life a cut above the rest.
What’s interesting (or perhaps a bit distressing) is that Jesus’ list of how to experience blessing hardly resembles the type of list that most of us would come up with on our own.
In fact in some ways, it’s the exact opposite.
And this point that we might have to come to the place where we ask ourselves, “Do we trust God to bless us or are we more prone to try and bless ourselves?”
This quandary reminds of something GK Chesterton wrote about a hundred years ago:
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
In Jesus’ teaching here in Matthew 5, He offers up 9 beatitudes that all start off with the world “blessed.”
Now, from what I know about people, most people want to be blessed.
In recent years it has been popular for people using social media to use the hashtag “blessed” to describe times when they’ve felt things have gone their way.
What’s interesting is that in the majority of those situations, the person has been affected externally.
- They got a new car.
- They got a raise.
- They got a new boyfriend or girlfriend.
- They found an open parking space.
It’s as if they’ve pulled the lever on a cosmic slot machine and something cool or fun popped out for their benefit.
Now, I believe we are blessed by the good gifts God gives us.
We would not be wrong to acknowledge God for providing us with a car, or a spouse, or a job, or place to lay our head.
But when it comes to the beatitudes of Jesus, and the repeated usage of the word blessed, Jesus goes far beyond being grateful for material blessing.
When Jesus speaks of blessing here, He in fact is speaking of a level of human satisfaction and fulfillment that is not dependent upon outward circumstances.
In fact, what Jesus is describing are the types of attitudes we must possess to experience true happiness from God.
And the truth is, left to ourselves, we won’t discover these types of blessings. They can only be realized in our life because God is working on us.