Matthew 5: 1-12: NRSV
5 When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:1-12: The Voice
5 Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountain (as Moses had done before Him) and He sat down (as Jewish teachers of His day usually did). His disciples gathered around Him. 2 And He began to teach them.3 Jesus: Blessed are the spiritually poor—the kingdom of heaven is theirs. 4 Blessed are those who mourn—they will be comforted.5 Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.8 Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.9 Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.11 And blessed are you, blessed are all of you, when people persecute you or denigrate you or despise you or tell lies about you on My account. 12 But when this happens, rejoice. Be glad. Remember that God’s prophets have been persecuted in the past. And know that in heaven, you have a great reward.
Would you agree that the birth of Jesus marked the most significant change point in human history? We acknowledge the incredible life changes that were revealed through the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the inventions of Thomas Edison, or the computer revolution that is attributed to men like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But no other individual or event in human history compares to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
He was born in a manger that was created for the purpose of feeding livestock. His earthly parents were poor and obscure. Even the city of his birth was considered to be insignificant. But he spoke the gift of salvation into the world and the life cycle of the human race was altered for all time.
The presence of the infant Jesus caused shepherds to be blessed and kings to become deeply concerned. His arrival was celebrated by ordinary people while people in power became troubled. His words spoke life and truth into the world when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Those words of grace and peace became a gift of blessing to the whole world. And today, they are a gift to our hearts once again. As you read the words that we simply call The Beatitudes, I invite you to find yourself…find your need…discover your situation…and hear the blessing that Jesus wants to add to your life today as we begin our journey that will take us Beyond the Manger.
Note: I hope you will join us tonight at 7:00 for our annual all Church Conference where we will take a look at how the life, death, and resurrection has impacted our church. Come, and be blessed!