Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 5:1-12
We are blessed people. Look around and see the faces of the blessed ones.
What does make us blessed ones? Among the Korean people, blessings consist of longevity, wealth, health, fame, and many children. Some guys say that if they have beer, football games, and girls, they have nothing to wish more.
Jesus taught us different type of blessings. These are true blessings. The list challenges our value system. It changes our view-point. It gives us new vision. Jesus wants us to think what really matters in our lives.
Jesus saw the crowds. Disciples are committed ones. Disciples are the ones who have given up everything to follow Jesus. However, crowds are different. They follow Jesus because they want bread and worldly success. They want Jesus to exercise divine power so that they can get whatever they want.
So, Jesus went up to a mountain. On the mountain Sinai, God gave laws for the newly born Israel. Now God wants to clarify the true meaning of the laws. Jesus taught, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is the first blessing. They know that they are not perfect. They know that whatever they have achieved would not save them. So, they humbly beg to God to save themselves. Then, the kingdom of heaven will open doors to them. Even though they are humble, they do not compromise their righteousness. In verse 10, Jesus again says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Here the righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus. In other words, they say that they do not have any righteousness of their own (poor in spirit) but they are willing to be persecuted to be an advocate of the righteousness of Jesus. They would die to spread the Gospel, saying Jesus is the only way, truth, and life. Then the Kingdom of heaven is theirs. Actually, Kingdom of heaven is Matthew’s version of Kingdom of God because Jewish audience would not want to use God’s name as much as possible.
In summary, if we acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves and beg for the righteousness of Jesus to be ours, then God will take control over our lives and we will be in good hands eternally. Then we will mourn not for our loss but for world peace and justice (v.4). Even though we are hungry and thirsty for righteousness (v.6), we will not use any force or violence either to spread the Good News or to achieve peace and justice (v.5). We will be rather merciful (v.7) and pure in heart (v.8). What we long for is peace not any personal gain (v.9). Sometimes, we will be persecuted and treated unfairly. But we know that in the end, God will be the King and reward our faithfulness (v. 10).
Knowing this, my brothers and sisters, let us stand firm and fight our spiritual battle with confidence. May God bless all of us!
- What would be your idea of blessings in your life? Describe your kind “a blessed life.”
- How many blessings then can you count right now in your life?