Everybody’s heard of the Beatitudes.
But who’s actually paying any attention to them?
Maybe somebody who’d like
the “blessings” Jesus promises!
If you’d like to be blessed by people, the easiest way is to let out a hearty sneeze. But if you’d like to be blessed by God, you would probably think of the Beatitudes.
If you look for the word “Beatitudes” in your English Bible, you will be kept busy. Because you won’t find it! And it’s not a word we use in our day to day affairs.
Yet everybody’s heard of the Beatitudes. And maybe read them once. Long ago?
“Yeah, that … What’s that got to do with my daily struggles? Who wants to be poor in anything? Weak? Hungry and thirsty? I read books that have “power” and “rich” and “success” in the titles!”
Maybe that’s why
Matthew (chapter 5) and Luke (chapter 6) precede their Beatitudes with detailed material establishing Jesus Christ’s credentials. Just in case we don’t get it that we ought to pay rapt attention to anything Jesus Christ wants to tell His creation! Surely He has the right to tell us what our priorities should be.
Jesus was of the promised lineage, announced by angels, prophesied to come, proclaimed by the Father, and He defeated Satan. And, did I say God in the flesh!
Need more credentials? Matthew and Luke show how Jesus was the promised Second Moses (Deut. 18:15). He escaped death as an infant, entered Egypt, was tempted in the wilderness, fasted 40 days and nights, ascended a mountain, revealed law from a mount, is the Great Lawgiver, and to top all of that off, He’s the “I Am” who was before Moses.
To the people of His day, these were all a
to make them connect back with what most of them knew by memory from the Law, Prophets and Writings.
To make it all a more obvious clue, Jesus used the “blessed” format found in 30-some Psalms and Proverbs. For example, His use of “Blessed” will hearken them back the first verse of the first psalm of the first book of the Writings.
Homework: Do your own personal study of the Psalms and Proverbs about being “blessed.” You’ll be glad you did—if you act on them!
For the people on the mount gathered around Jesus, they wanted to be “a man after God’s own heart” and like the wisest man in the world. Of course Jesus Christ supersedes David and Solomon in this life and in the Kingdom to come.
So was all this remezing enough to ensure their full attention? In Matt. 5:1 Jesus seated Himself. Just because He was tired? Wanted to be comfortable for His sermon to come on the mount?
No, rabbis always gave their authoritative teaching sitting down. That’s why when Jesus stood up in the synagogue reading from the book of Isaiah, and then he pointedly sat down, “the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him” (Luke 4:20). Other scriptures showing this are Matt. 13:1, 11:29, 23:1, 24:3 and 26:55 and Mark 9:35.
Modern examples relating to this symbolism would be a professor being “the chair of the department.”
If all this didn’t have the people primed for the importance of what was about to be said, Matt. 5:2 points out that “He opened His mouth.” We modern cynics would say “Well, how else are the words going to come out!”
But this was another remez back to the Old Testament where this expression signified profound proclamations made for God (Psa. 51:15, 78:2, Prov. 31:9 and Ezk. 29:21).
So by now Jesus’ audience was primed! In this case,
The rabbi who speaks for God is God!
So for those assembled before Jesus, there should have been mounting anticipation about what they were about to hear. If the rabbi who is another King David and King Solomon and a second Moses is about to say something, you’d better know what He’s about to say is worthy of your full attention.
Are we ready to pray for understanding—and then study the Beatitudes in detail along with comparing other scriptures on the same subjects?
Maybe we should also call them Beactions–because actions will follow these attitudes. The merciful must show mercy. Are we living these attitudes and actions?
If so, take another good long look at
the rabbi who is God promises you!
The Family of God will be in these beautiful attitudes forever!
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