We forget how utterly insane the Beatitudes are. We have nerfed them into pious platitudes about how things might be nice some day. That’s not what’s going on. Consider to whom Jesus is speaking that day. The crowds Jesus saw in Matthew chapter 5 were desperate. They were a conquered people, oppressed by the Romans, facing terrible poverty. But when Jesus looks over this crowd, He does something that is utterly strange.
Jesus doesn’t tell them how to fix things. He doesn’t Dave Ramsey them into better economic advice. Jesus doesn’t start a community organization project or blame the 1 percent or the Colonizing powers of Rome. Jesus doesn’t tell them how to fix anything.
Instead, Jesus says something utterly profound. You are blessed. 9 times. Blessed are the fill in the blank. Do you realize how utterly insane that sounds to the desperate world? Blessed are the poor in spirit – think on that, if you are beat down and crushed by life in this world, if you are downtrodden and spit upon and at the end of your rope – Jesus says that you are blessed. Why? Not because he’s got the three easy steps to turn things around, not because the bad people are going to be punished, not because the new rulers will finally be the right rulers. No – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Is. Right now. Right now the Kingdom of heaven is yours… and it’s still yours if next year goes better or if it goes worse. It is yours if there is sickness or health, richer or poorer, all those variations. None of them change the fact that the Kingdom of Heaven is yours. You belong to Christ Jesus, and He has given you the Kingdom of Heaven – He has baptized you. You are an heir of heaven, it is yours – and there’s not a thing in this world that can take that away from you. Christ Jesus has given Himself to you, He has shed His blood for you to rescue you from sin and from death and the devil, and His Kingdom is yours. You actually are blessed.
And the rest of the beatitudes run the exact same way. It is wondrous to behold.