So, what do the beatitudes of Jesus mean for us?
In one sense, it is a plea for us to be merciful and pure in heart and peacemakers and hungering for righteousness. Yet, it must not be done for an ulterior motive of attaining some blessing. The blessing is God’s presence, not more money or wealth or a promotion or things like that.
In another sense, these beatitudes mean that we should participate in God’s work right before us. If God is with these people — the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the persecuted — then we must join with God in serving them. Of course, when we serve the poor in spirit, we can’t give them the kingdom. Yet, this is a call for participation in God’s mission.
In our participation, we must know that we cannot give the kingdom of heaven, ultimate comfort, the earth’s inheritance, fulfillment, mercy, seeing God, or anything like that.
The point is this: Christ gives himself up to all those listed in these blessings. These are blessed by God because Christ has come to serve them, forgive them, save them.
The poor in spirit are blessed with the kingdom of heaven because Christ has opened the door to the kingdom for them as well.
Those who mourn are blessed with comfort because Christ mourns with them and understands the cries of pain and loss.
The meek are blessed with the earth’s inheritance because Christ came to uplift the downtrodden, overlooked, ignored, and forgotten.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed because Christ has given them his own righteousness to be completely sufficient.
The pure in heart are blessed in seeing God because Christ is the face of God.
The peacemakers are blessed by being called children of God because Christ is the way of ultimate peace.
Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are blessed with the kingdom of heaven because Christ was persecuted for the same thing and has inherited all authority of God’s kingdom.
For in Christ’s work, all these are made blessed. You know see where God is at work? Through the giving of his Son we are made blessed.
Many of us live poor in spirit. Some of us seemingly never leave a state of mourning. Sometimes it seems we get walked all over. We desire righteousness but never seemingly get there. We want mercy. We long for pure hearts. We plead for peace.
God’s already at work — in Christ, God has blessed us with the way of ultimate fulfillment, peace, inheritance, mercy, identity, and kingdom. In Christ, God has paved this way.
In this prologue for the Sermon on the Mount, Christ pronounced all these blessed. It is with his work of salvation and redemption that these are made blessed. It is in knowing Christ that we are blessed.
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