Last week I went away with the other pastors from Calvary Philly for a few days of prayer. During one of our down times I sat with the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. I got stuck on the beginning, though, and spent the time mulling over the beatitudes in 5:1-11. As I thought that I was beginning to see something new (for me) there, I grabbed my notebook and wrote out the main points of the verses in two columns, which ended up looking like this:
|Your State||The Blessing|
|You’re poor in spirit||The kingdom of heaven is yours|
|You mourn||You’ll be comforted|
|You’re meek||You’ll inherit the earth|
|You hunger and thirst for righteousness||You’ll be filled|
|You’re merciful||You’ll get mercy|
|You’re pure in heart||You’ll see God|
|You’re a peacemaker||You’ll be called sons of God|
|You get persecuted for righteousness||The kingdom of heaven is yours|
Now, what struck me was just reading down the second column, and seeing the kind of promise Jesus was holding out. You’ll be comforted and filled, and you’ll get mercy. You’ll inherit the earth, and the kingdom of God, as the sons of God. In fact, You’ll see God! The kingdom is promised at the beginning and the end, when poverty of spirit and persecution are mentioned, as if to wrap the whole thing into a package that says: Don’t worry if things look bad. Just as sure as I’m coming back as King, you’re going to get My kingdom.
A few minutes contemplating all that is really enough to floor you. To fill you. Isn’t Jesus good? Doesn’t this list take care of whatever we’re facing, right now, today? You will be filled. You will be comforted. You’ll get God, and the whole earth with it.
And then, if we let our eyes drift to the left-hand column, we see the kind of people God is making us as disciples of Christ, and the kind of life we can expect. It’s sobering–but in a good, bracing, Bible kind of way.
With the promises that are held out to us, who wouldn’t want to press in to the kind of life Jesus taught His followers?