Over the past several weeks, we have read through Philippians together. Now, I want us to turn to Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus calls us here to a new kind of life in his Kingdom, a life in which we act less like the world and more like Jesus. I hope his words will renew our strength and encourage our faith as we endure the challenges of our time.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
We all like blessings, especially when life has been hard and we have been denied many things we usually take for granted. We long for happy, pleasant things. After our long period of isolation and the disruption of our usual ways of life, we could use a nice package full of blessings about now. Jesus understands that, and he wants to bring us comfort and joy. In fact, Jesus wants to bless us even during the trials and hardships of life, and that’s really the beauty of the blessings Jesus promises. They don’t come in the form of pleasure and luxury; instead, Jesus invites us to find a new kind of blessing that we can enjoy even if we are poor in spirit, even while we mourn, and even as we treat others in meek, gentle ways.
The people Jesus preached to on that mountainside knew all about hardship. They struggled each day just to survive. They endured harsh treatment from local authorities and abuse from Roman soldiers. They grew up learning an unforgiving form of religion that made God into a demanding overlord. They knew all about being poor in spirit, having hearts filled with sorrow and hopelessness. Jesus told them that God wanted to give them a far better life, a life overflowing with blessings that transcend the hardships of this world.
We often walk down hard roads and mourn the loss of people and things we love. Life can be rough and often is. But the promises of God invite us to see beyond material need or abundance, beyond the immediate circumstances of today, and to find comfort in God’s love. Jesus gives us the hope of heaven, the comfort of the Spirit’s presence, and the assurance that this world still belongs to God and we still belong to Him.
Thank You, Jesus, for speaking truth and hope into my life. Help me to receive the blessings You give and to rejoice in Your everlasting love. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian