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.
(Matthew 5:3–11 )
Think back to the best sermon you’ve ever heard. Do any memories come to mind? Now imagine that you’re sitting on a hill, hot and sweaty, squished into a crowd. Soon your discomfort fades as the man everyone’s been talking about captures your attention. Jesus starts to speak about those who are blessed—and what He says rocks your world.
This most famous sermon ever (known as the Sermon on the Mount) starts with Jesus’ list of beatitudes. He breaks from what the world praises and calls blessed, saying instead: “Blessed are those who mourn, who hunger and thirst, who are merciful, who are pure in heart. Blessed are the peacemakers and the persecuted; blessed are the insulted.” In short, blessed are those who stand against the cultural tides and who follow the Lord, for they will find God’s kingdom.
PONDERING JESUS’ WORDS
In an age when convenience and prosperity seem to be the prized cultural values in the developed world, Jesus’ words can startle us when we slow down and think about them. For those who have been Christians for many years, these words will be familiar—maybe even so familiar that we fail to notice how radical they are. When was the last time you felt blessed when you were insulted for your faith? I can’t remember when I felt persecuted for my beliefs.
Today, consider making time to ponder Jesus’ words. You could write them out and wonder what it would mean to be poor in spirit, or meek, or merciful. Even embracing one of the beatitudes could have a transforming effect on our lives.
Lord Jesus Christ, you saw the outcast and the ones who were discarded in society. Open my eyes to see all those whom you love. Help me to extend your blessing to others, even as you shower me with your blessings. Amen
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- What does it mean to you to be poor in spirit?
- Have you found God’s comfort when you were mourning? How?
- Why do you think Jesus’ beatitudes are so radical today?
Amy Boucher Pye
Amy is a writer, speaker, and spiritual director. She’s the author of several books, including 7 Ways to Pray: Time-Tested Practices for Encountering God. She loves writing devotional thoughts, including for the world-renowned Our Daily Bread. She lives with her family in North London. Find her at amyboucherpye.com or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Chronic Joy® devotionals are an invitation to take one gentle step, to pray in a comforting and familiar or perhaps new-to-you way, or to cry out on behalf of one precious life today … maybe even yours.