Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The crowds have gathered again to hear Jesus speak. They know of the power and authority with which he preaches, they have seen the healings and restorations that we have studied in worship these last few weeks. As they gather again, Jesus takes the opportunity to set out how his kingdom is organized. Who are the stakeholders, who are the winners, how does it work? “Blessed are the poor in spirit… those who mourn… and the meek…” (Matt 5:3-5) God’s Kingdom seems to prize unexpected things and Jesus calls the most unlikely people to follow. As we approach this time of Lent, as we seek to deepen our relationship with God, consider these blessings. What does a world look like if those things that are broken and hurting within us are the very things that God blesses and transforms?