That Doesn't Sound Right
Matthew 5:1–12 1And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
“That doesn’t sound right!”
No doubt, that is what those listening thought when Jesus spoke these famous words for the first time. It is what we say too when we read it today. Notice the repetition of one word, “blessed,” which means happy. Jesus teaches on “how to be happy,” but what he taught was the opposite of what is commonly thought.
Have you ever considered the counter-intuitive content of these recipes for rejoicing?
Happy are the poor?
It feels like it should say, “happy are the rich.” If I have more money, then I will be happy, right? I gather from the music videos and the movies that more green will bring more grins. Our Lord taught that investing in eternal things is what brings lasting joy.
Happy are the sad?
How in the world can that be true? Sadness and discontent drive us to Jesus for fulfillment.
Happy are the meek?
Aren’t we told the opposite? We hear happy are the aggressive, the driven ones that take what they want from who they want, whenever they want. Our Lord taught it is the meek and gentle who will eventually gain.
Happy are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness?
I always assumed the one that knew the truth was the happiest, but Jesus taught that joy comes from a craving to understand and grow. More joy comes from learning than being a know-it-all. I didn’t know that, so what does that say about me?
Happy are the merciful?
I thought getting even would make me glad, but Jesus said not so! Giving not just getting mercy, brings joy.
Happy are the pure in heart?
That certainly isn’t what the tempter tells!
Happy are the peacemakers?
I thought stirring up drama and strife and then sitting back to watch the carnage created would make my joy, but Jesus taught me to make peace and ease conflict.
Happy are the persecuted?
That doesn’t seem right, yet our Lord taught that being his witness even during persecution brings joy and an eternal reward.
None of this seems to seem right, but I know my Jesus is always right.
I suppose when humanity fell, it knocked our perception out of alignment. We just need a recalibration from the Creator.
I will trust him rather than my sinful senses, how about you?
My 2021 Bible Reading Plan
April 14, 2021