Are You Blessed?
This week’s Gospel reading from Matthew 5 includes what we know as the Beatitudes. They each begin “Blessed are those . . .” The words “Blessed are those” don’t translate from the Greek directly. Elizabeth Laycock teaches that the words, literally, should read: “Oh, the sheer joy.” Another way of putting it would be “How lucky you are.” At first reading, it is hard to think in terms of joy, blessed, or lucky, when we read about being poor, hungry, filled with sorrow, and excluded from others. All of that is foreign to our way of thinking. We don’t want to be hungry; in fact, Jesus teaches us that we are to feed the hungry. We don’t want to be poor. Weeping – no way – we want to be happy. And to be excluded, well, we want to be part of it, whatever it is.
And that is exactly the point. As disciples, followers of Christ, we are called to a way of living that is foreign from the world. When we follow Jesus and his teaching, we may be hungry for the things of the world – but we are blessed because we are followers of Jesus. We may be poor by the world’s standards, but as followers of Jesus we are rich – joint heirs with him. This world we live in is filled with sorrow. There is much to weep over. But, we can and will laugh because of God’s kingdom. When we align ourselves with Jesus, we separate ourselves from the world. To be a follower of Christ will alienate us from the world. And that is good, because the world is an evil place.
Jesus is not talking about a time sometime in the future. This is written in the present tense. All these blessings are available for the followers of Jesus NOW. This leads me to the question that I used to title this devotion – are you blessed?
Lord Jesus, give us eyes to see how blessed we are to be your disciples. Amen.
Always to God be the Glory!