By Rev. Eric Brown
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Matthew 5:3
Jesus seems a bit off His rocker when He starts the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. He begins with the verses that today we call the “Beattitudes” - the “Blessed are the....” sayings. And frankly, none of these seem to be blessings at all. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn? What in the world is Jesus talking about?
Jesus is talking about real and true blessings, about eternal blessings in Him. So often, when we talk about blessings or being blessed, we end up talking about temporary, first article gifts. Health and wealth and money and stuff like that. Those are all good things, great gifts from God, but they are temporary. They are what Jesus calls daily bread in the Lord's Prayer – stuff that is here today and gone tomorrow. And we spend so much time worrying about these daily blessings that we forget the greater truth. You have eternal and everlasting blessings in Christ Jesus.
Consider just the first “blessed” - blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Are there times when you are utterly run down? Are there times when your spirit is low, when you see your sin, or even when you have tons of stuff going on around you? Are there times when your life stinks? Sure – but even then, even in that moment, the truth is you are blessed in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus doesn't run away from you when things in your life are lousy – instead He is with you still for you are His baptized child. Even in those lowly moments, the kingdom of heaven is yours, and your lowliness, your being poor in spirit isn't going to take it away. It can't – because Jesus is still faithful to you.
All the beatitudes are really talking about how Jesus is faithful to you and gives you eternal blessings in Himself. Whether it's a good day or a lousy day, whether it is rough or leisurely, Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He is the same for you, for your good. He remains your Savior, He remains the God who has won you forgiveness for you upon the Cross and continually gives you this forgiveness in His Word, in His Supper. That's who He is and that's who He still is, no matter what twists or turns your day takes today.
Whatever the day holds, you are blessed, for you face this day as a Baptized child of God, joined to Christ. Christ Jesus is with you, and you belong to Him, so no matter what, you are truly blessed with blessings far beyond the ability of the world to understand. You have the peace and love of Christ Jesus.
Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.
Created: October 31st, 2017