Monday 23 June, 2014

Matthew 4:23-5:16

23 Jesus went all over Galilee. There he taught in the synagogues. He preached the good news of God’s kingdom. He healed every illness and sickness the people had. 24 News about him spread all over Syria. People brought to him all who were ill with different kinds of sicknesses. Some were suffering great pain. Others were controlled by demons. Some were shaking wildly. Others couldn’t move at all. And Jesus healed all of them. 25 Large crowds followed him. Some people came from Galilee, from the area known as the Ten Cities, and from Jerusalem and Judea. Others came from the area across the Jordan River. 5 Jesus saw the crowds. So he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to teach them. He said, 3 “Blessed are those who are spiritually needy. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 4 Blessed are those who are sad. They will be comforted. 5 Blessed are those who are free of pride. They will be given the earth. 6 Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right. They will be filled. 7 Blessed are those who show mercy. They will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are those whose hearts are pure. They will see God. 9 Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right. 11 “Blessed are you when people make fun of you and hurt you because of me. You are also blessed when they tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 Be joyful and glad. Your reward in heaven is great. In the same way, people hurt the prophets who lived long ago. 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But suppose the salt loses its saltiness. How can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything. It will be thrown out. People will walk all over it. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 “In the same way, let your light shine in front of others. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will praise your Father who is in heaven.

Wow what a passage of Scripture!!!  So rich, so meaningful how can one do justice to it in a few short thoughts – yet here is Jesus wanting people to understand that He is the source of blessing to people and that if we would simply listen and apply these words blessing will be the result, blessing will be ours!

Blessing is ours if we obey these words – but there’s the rub – obedience.  All too often blessing is discussed in a trite and shallow manner, yet here we see blessing associated with some of the deepest emotions, deepest actions that we can experience.  I love how Jesus grapples with the depths of life and doesn’t resort to populist notions of blessing so often equated with the state of our finances!

Indeed many may even look on our lives and decide we are not blessed if we are persecuted – yet Jesus gives a kingdom value quite the opposite!

So what does this mean to me – well this passage arrests me and causes me to ask another question and dig a little deeper to ensure that my superficial readings of blessing are not based on worldly principles and practices and that they are measured next to these principles.  I also find myself seeking to apply them with courageous obedience so that I would know blessing – blessing as God intends for my life!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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