Jesus enters the scene and His earthly ministry with a radical message in His Sermon on the Mount. While the eager crowds gathered, Jesus instructed His disciples concerning the nature of life in the kingdom of God. These were words of celebration for His followers and words of invitation for the curious, the skeptics, the lost. He speaks of the happiness and blessedness (beatitudes) that result from a life transformed and governed by the supernatural power of God. He tells of a kingdom which is both now, and not yet. Blessings today and infinitely more blessings to come. I wonder if these promises of Jesus stirred an uncontainable hope and joy in the disciples’ hearts, as they do in mine? These promises of…
a vision of God
adoption as sons
The times and culture in which we live are not so different than that of the disciples with respect to the value placed on self-sufficiency. The religious leaders of the day lived and taught a works-based salvation. But Jesus flipped their entire theology on its head when He proclaimed the condition one must meet in order to have any dealings with God: spiritual bankruptcy.
Who belongs to the kingdom of heaven and receives the blessings therein? Not the self-reliant, but the poor in spirit, the ones who are keenly aware of their utter spiritual poverty. Not the self-righteous, but those in deep mourning over their sin. Not the self-confident, but the meek, the humble and submissive. Not the self-sufficient, but those with insatiable hunger and thirst that nothing on earth can satisfy.
The solution to our spiritual condition is bringing nothing to the table but empty hands, guilty hearts and starving souls.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
In the beatitudes, Jesus gives us a clear description of a holy, godly life which brings blessings, but is an utterly impossible standard apart from complete dependence on Him. Thus, the daily struggle and painful offense to my pride: the admission that my problems are beyond me, my life is unmanageable, and I have nothing and can do nothing without Him. Blessed am I when I fall hard on the grace of God. I find the power of His Spirit within me and gain the kingdom of heaven.
Held by Him,
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