Day Six: Monday, June 15th, 2020
Bible Lesson: Matthew 5:1-16
Reflection from Pastor Wayne Eberly:
“The Blessings of Jesus”
Our second week of reading in the Gospel of Matthew brings us to chapters 5-7, the words of Jesus known as, “The Sermon on the Mount.” We will encounter numerous passages that encourage, inspire, and challenge us on our journey of faith. The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes, the series of blessings that Jesus speaks in the opening verses of Matthew 5.
- A blessing is certainly wonderful. It is the promise of blessing that propels Abraham to leave his country and his people and go to the land the Lord would show him.
- Because a blessing is so wonderful, when that blessing is withheld or withdrawn, it can be traumatic. Esau’s heart is filled with anger and agony when he discovers his brother Jacob has stolen the blessing of their father Isaac. “When Esau heard that his father had blessed his brother, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to this father, ‘Bless me—me too, father!’” (Genesis 27:34)
- Some blessings are conditional. Deuteronomy 27-29 is a lengthy section that spells out how Israel will be blessed, if… The blessing is conditional. They will be blessed, but only if they obey the commands of the Lord. Much of our life is based on blessings that are conditional, blessings we earn or work to attain.
The Beatitudes stand apart from other blessings we find in the bible, and so many of the blessings we find in life. In the Beatitudes Jesus does more than promise blessing. Jesus describes a blessing that is present at this very moment. The blessing of Jesus is not a blessing that is withheld or withdrawn. The blessing of Jesus is graciously given. Instead of the trauma that caused such bitterness in the heart of Esau, those who receive the blessing of Jesus find comfort and peace in their moment of need. The blessing of Jesus is not conditional, something we work for, earn, or deserve.
When you read the Beatitudes today, look for ways the blessing of Jesus brings comfort. Look for ways the blessing of Jesus creates within his followers a hunger and thirst for the things that are near and dear to the heart of God. Look for ways the blessing of Jesus prepares his followers to stand firm in the face of persecution and the pressures of this world.
Disciples who receive the blessing of their Lord Jesus become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
“Let your light shine before all people, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
“Let me put this another way. The only way the Beatitudes of Jesus make sense is if Jesus Christ himself, the one who speaks them, is strong enough to make them really true. We are able to endure persecution and actually to believe we are on the right path if our companion in the middle of that persecution is the living Lord. These Beatitudes are the words of authority; they boldly challenge every way of looking at life that people ordinarily hold.” (Earl Palmer, “The Enormous Exception”, 25.)