Mathew records the story of Jesus healing the sick, those in pain, those afflicted by demons, epileptics and the paralysed. Such was his ministry that large crowds from all around came to him and followed him. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up onto a mountainside and sat down with his disciples and started to teach them what we know as the beatitudes. Matthew 5:1 –7:29
And he begins by tenderly telling the crowds,
- Blessed are the broken hearted – because God is for you.
- Blessed are those who mourn – because God will comfort you.
- Blessed are the meek – Because you are the salt of the world.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – You will find what you look for.
- Blessed are the merciful – for you will find mercy.
- Blessed are the pure in heart – for you will see God.
- Blessed are the peace makers – For God calls you his children.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness – For the kingdom of heaven is among you.
Jesus continues: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
And then smack right bang in the middle of his teaching he teaches us what we know as the Lord’s Prayer.
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[j]
but deliver us from the evil one
And he continues his teaching once again. But here is the rub. His teaching on prayer is integrated into the very call on our lives in the way we are to live. For in his teachings he teaches us what it means to be broken hearted, to be mournful, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, (and justice)to be merciful, pure in heart, a peace maker and persecuted. And within this framework, he teaches us what it means to be blessed.
Finally he concludes his teaching with the following encouragement. 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
We can live a foolish life or we can live a wise life. But, I have to admit the wise life is a difficult life. It’s near impossible for me not to judge others. It’s near impossible for me not to be angry with others. It’s near impossible for me not to forgive others. It’s near impossible for me to be generous to all who ask. It’s near impossible for me to be faithful, meek, peaceful and free of anxiety and fears.
But, note, I do say, “near impossible.” And I say that, because, nothing is impossible with God. I encourage you today, to pray through the Beatitudes within the framework of how Jesus taught us to pray along side with me. Because the result of that lifestyle of praying, will cause us to truly live wise lives.