The Beatitudes of Jesus
4th Sunday of Epiphany:
Readings: Micah 6:1-8
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Christ spends great effort to let us understand His commitment to us. Scriptures are filled with promises and yet we doubt His Word. From the very beginning, He already gave us the best. He also gave us instructions to cultivate the earth and keep it. But because we disobeyed, chaos and catastrophes came upon the earth. God in His mercy sent His only Son to redeem man. In order to do that, Christ had to be flesh. He led a normal life, grew up and was trained by His parents. When John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus began His Ministry in Capernaum.
In the Gospel today, Jesus takes His disciples up on the mountains. On a high level as it is symbolic of a high and important place. He then sat down with the disciples to show that He was among them. Like a family member or a friend. He opened His mouth and began to teach them:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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.” The Beatitudes were written to show us how valuable the entire message is for us. It is necessary for us to read this part of Scriptures not according to our human understanding but beyond it and with spiritual depth. Christ destroyed all the works of the devil, not only sin but every sickness, iniquity and the consequences thereof. He was explaining to us what the Kingdom truly is. He has given us all authority. However, as human beings, we tend to judge things by what we see or feel, instead of trusting God. Our doubts, fears and unbelief hinder us from experiencing the Kingdom life. Our God has redeemed us, taken us out of darkness and brought us into the light. And yet, we are controlled by our emotions and feelings rather than the truth from God. Faith is needed from us. Christ is wanting us to know that we are blessed, regardless of what’s happening around us. Even death cannot hold us back, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Those who wait upon the Lord shall mount up like eagles and our strength will be renewed. We should not let our feelings and emotions control us because we belong in His Kingdom.
Psalm 146 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.” If we are in the Kingdom, we should not let the things of the world steal our joy.
Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.” Humanity turned against Him and yet He forgave us.
Micah 6 “Listen to what the LORD says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery.”
God delivered the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. God gave them their freedom and yet they still yearned for the leeks and garlic of Egypt. It’s the same thing with us today. He has set us free. Why are we allowing ourselves to let things get in the way. God has blessed us so much and that we should believe that we are overcomers even in the midst of turmoil.
Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” We live in a world where we depend on the world system to solve the problems for us. We need to trust that God is the Answer.
Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
1 Peter 4:13 “But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.”
The power of God is in the crucifixion. We see sin all around us, but our minds should be focused on the things of God. We should put our hope and confidence in Him. We are a blessed people. We need to put this truth in our hearts.