KINGDOM: You are Blessed!

PuzzlePieceKingdomJesus, God with skin on had one sermon in particular we call the “Sermon on the Mount.” It’s not a very profound name because basically He taught a bunch of stuff while standing on a Hill… pretty anticlimactic name, huh?  Anyway, in the Kingdom of God is served like Jesus’ acceptance speech for being nominated “King”… Jesus lays out ALL of the “important” stuff. This is what the Kingdom was like. 

Now, here’s the bummer: in spite of the fact that Jesus over & over again calls His message “Good News”, we’ve manage to read his primary message like it were BAD NEWS.
 
We read the phrase “Blessed are the Poor”, & say, “Oh, man… I’ve got to become poor in order to be blessed.”  Well, that stinks, doesn’t it?!  BUT this is a total misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching… again, his message is about the KINGDOM, what it means to enter the Kingdom through faith in Him, and the process of being transformed by being in a right relationship with HIM!
 
You see, when we work so hard not to sin that look down our noses at other who DO SIN, we are – in reality – disobeying Jesus… we are sinning… we are living as thought the Gospel of Jesus were a program of “sin management” – trying to juggle a bunch of rules so we can break as few laws as possible, & hopefully catch God on a good day when we die, & – WHEW – not go to Hell!
 
That’ll lead to burn-out, I tell you!
 
At the heart of God’s message is that what it means to be truly Human is not so much about making sure our public choices don’t offend religious people, but it’s about being a child of God – learning to live out who you now are – having your very identity transformed by being adopted into the ROYAL FAMILY.  God isn’t about RULES as much as RELATIONSHIP – His heart is not CONFORMITY but TRANSFORMATION!
So in that context, let’s check out what many theologians consider to be the core of that sermon: The Beatitudes.

2 And he opened his mouth 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 shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

We are easily tempted to look at that as a check-list of spiritual attainment – we try to become “spiritually poor” so we can, in turn, inherit the Kingdom of God… with very little clue what “spiritually poor” actually is, or what the Kingdom of God IS.  And we wonder why we’re so confused.  We try to create a condition within ourself that EARNS a reward from God. 
 
These are “adventures in missing the point”!  That’s not GRACE – that’s LAW.  That’s us doing the very thing Jesus came to STOP!
 
REMEMBER: this is GOOD NEWS!  So read it again in this light: Jesus is actually describing the actual “position” of people who are – right then and there – being blessed by God.
Let’s rephrase this to help our eyes see it anew: “If you find yourself destitute, don’t worry – God is coming to you. In fact I AM HERE. You are blessed!
Jesus spoke these words to the crowds of poor & destitute – some spiritually poor, & many others without a coin to their name. He saw the misfits and outcasts. He saw those who did not have it together. They were blessed because God had come to THEM right in that moment, as they were.

Jesus is saying; “I see you – I see you where you are – I see you AS you are… and I’m HERE… God is HERE WITH YOU!”  You are BLESSED!  You THINK your brokenness, your destitution, your depression, your anger, your bitterness – you believe you are CURSED, but it’s not TRUE!  God is HERE – he’s WITH YOU! You are BLESSED!

And quite literally, He was – He IS.

Jesus was turning everyone’s expectations upside down. They had thought that if they were rich or did everything right, then that was the sign that God was blessing them. But, Jesus said no to that. Our state of blessedness is not dependent upon what we do but upon who God is. The facts are, He has come to all of us, even the spiritually destitute – even those who mourn.

So don’t take the good news, & try to make another law. We can’t earn God’s love – we can’t earn His blessings.  God’s blessing come through Jesus, so if we KNOW Jesus, we’ve got it.  The good news of the Kingdom is the JESUS IS KING, & our King has come to all of us – even the broken hearted – especially the broken-hearted!

The point of the Beatitudes of Jesus are this: there is NO ONE too far – there is no one too lost – there is no one so broken, that I cannot come to them… that I will not pursue.

You’re not “better” for being poor, BUT… and this is BIG, especially in Jesus’ day… you also are no WORSE for being poor either!  Being poor is not evidence that you are cursed or that God loves you any less! Neither is being depressed, nor having enemies, nor being weak… His list is long. Jesus is giving specific examples of people standing around listening to Him for whom the RULE & REIGN of GOD is AVAILABLE even in LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES that seem utterly beyond all hope!

So, where are you? What area of your life feels utterly hopeless? God has not abandoned you. You are not cursed. If fact, He is there with you in the middle of it. You are blessed!

If you feel as though God has abandoned you, know it is not true. I’d be happy to talk to you further about this… just send me a message.

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