All week we have been reading about how God sets boundaries for our relationship with God and guidelines for abiding in God’s presence—being in the kingdom of God. With all these boundaries and guidelines, God tells us repeatedly that the righteousness of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit enable us to be in ongoing relationship with God. It’s good to hold in mind these promises as we read today’s passage.

The Beatitudes, which are part of the larger Sermon on the Mount that makes up Matthew 5–7, are among the most famous of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus lays out for the disciples eight defining characteristics of those who are blessed in the reign of God. It can seem like an impossible list of character traits for us to live up to. But blessedness of which Jesus speaks is both a reality of the present and a fulfillment yet to come in the fullness of God’s kingdom.

When Jesus declares these blessings, he speaks to a depth of joy that comes from being in right relationship with God—something we continually are living into as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The joy is the result of growing discipleship. It is not the same thing as being happy in the way the world might describe happiness, a giddy and transitory emotion. Jesus offers another reminder that the ways of God can appear foolish to the world. We can consider the Beatitudes as a growing progression of life in Christ as we are transformed into Christ’s image by Christ’s righteousness. When we read this passage, we do not need to feel downcast because of the ways we do not yet measure up to these defined traits. Jesus offers an image of what it looks like to be at home in the kingdom of God. Our work is in the transformation.

Holy Spirit, show me where I most need to be transformed in my heart to be at home in the kingdom of God. Help me on my journey to become more like Christ. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 5:1-12

0 Comments
Log In to leave a comment
Lectionary Week
January 27—February 2, 2020
Scripture Overview

We must beware counterfeit gospels. According to one current counterfeit gospel, we deserve God’s favor based on our deeds or intellect or status. The readings for this week remind us that this is false. Yes, the Israelites offer sacrifices, but they are first and foremost called to show mercy because they have received divine mercy. The psalmist asks who can stand in God’s holy dwelling and so provides a list of ways to live morally. Ultimately no one can stand before God on merit alone. Paul reminds the Corinthians that human wisdom is foolishness compared to the wisdom of God, and thus we should not puff ourselves up based on our intellect. Jesus teaches that those who may seem insignificant in the eyes of the world are great in the kingdom of heaven.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Micah 6:1-8. How have you let down God? What changes can you make to recommit to your relationship with God?
Read Psalm 15. Consider the notion that the requirements for dwelling with God are in how we treat our friends and neighbors. How does this change the ways you seek God?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. When have you seen God’s work in the world in a way that is antithetical to human standards?
Read Matthew 5:1-12. How do you maintain a poverty of spirit in your relationship with God? How does this help you to serve God and others?

Respond by posting a prayer.