Archive for October 9th, 2022

The Blessed


Written by Jonathan Petersen, contemporary writer and content manager for Bible Gateway.

On a hillside, possibly in the Korazim Plateau in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount—the term first used by the 4th/5th century theologian, Augustine—with a grouping of virtues we know as the Beatitudes, in which he repeatedly emphasized the Greek word makarios, meaning “blessed (receiving God’s favor), fortunate, good (in a position of favor), happy (feelings associated with receiving God’s favor) … Makarios is a state of existence in relationship to God in which a person is ‘blessed’ from God’s perspective even when he or she doesn’t feel happy or isn’t presently experiencing good fortune. Negative feelings, absence of feelings, or adverse conditions cannot take away the blessedness of those who exist in relationship with God…Dr. Tony Evans calls the Sermon on the Mount Jesus’ kingdom manifesto. He says, “We could call the Beatitudes antibiotics from God’s pharmacy that can aid life transformation. They are a reminder that Jesus is primarily concerned with what’s happening on your inside, which should be the basis of what you’re showing on the outside.” The beatitudes are blessings Jesus pronounced on the most unlikely of people—the poor, the hungry, the meek—as the kingdom of God was arriving in his ministry. The opposite of curses, blessings are the bestowment of favor, mercy, and protection upon a person, resulting in that person’s happiness and feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment…The Beatitudes describe the blessedness of those who have certain qualities or experiences that identify people belonging to the kingdom of heaven. “In the Beatitudes Jesus announces that God’s values are often radically different from the world’s. God will bless those who pursue the ethics of his kingdom and choose to put him first over the things of this world…We must recognize that the sermon is directed to the disciples and through them to the whole church today. The sermon addresses both inward motives and outward conduct. These legitimate demands are so strict that no one can completely obey them, and we are therefore driven to the grace and mercy of God. In some cases Jesus uses obviously intentional exaggeration to illustrate the absolute requirements of God’s law…The kingdom of God “belongs to those who know they have no resources, material or spiritual, to help themselves before God. These are the “poor” to whom Jesus has come to announce “good news” and to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs. Jesus teaches that the norm of the kingdom of heaven is spiritual bankruptcy, unlike the spiritual self-sufficiency that was characteristic of the religious leaders. Jesus’ disciples will experience their most complete personal fulfillment as they draw on the resources of the kingdom of heaven to guide their lives. Character is the identity of who we are, but conduct is what we do… Character comes first and conduct flows from it. Behavior follows belief. The Beatitudes display the beauty of kingdom life.


Written by Paul Carr, a contemporary British minister and writer.

Gracious God, you have so richly blessed us with life,
with love and joy, with hope in the midst of despair.
Help us to be the salt of the earth. Help us to be the light of the world, sharing with others that which we have received, boldly proclaiming the good news of your love, finding the seeds of your kingdom within us and letting your way grow in our lives and throughout the world. Amen.

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