The Beatitudes for Kingdom Living
The Beatitudes for Kingdom Living
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.”
Dear Family & Friends,
Pride, self-sufficiency, status, career development and financial prosperity – these describe the ideal of many citizens of the United States of America. You can be anything that you want to be if you only work hard with a singular focus and apply yourself to personal goals. These are the goals of many in our country, but those who are citizens of another country, the Kingdom of Heaven, must be characterized by different things.
Teaching About the Kingdom of Heaven
Many had started following Jesus of Nazareth. The news had gotten out and they were intrigued by this man who could heal every kind of disease. From as far away as Syria droves of people began to bring their sick loved ones to receive healing. One day a large crowd gathered, so Jesus climbed a nearby mountainside where he sat down, as was the tradition of Jewish rabbis. He began teaching His disciples about God’s Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5, spells out a code of behavior befitting for citizens of God’s country. The first verses list a series of eight statements that, while quite the opposite of earthly goals, will, if attended to, bring great happiness to any who are true disciples of Jesus. Each characteristic is followed by a blessing.
- 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.
As the wind gently blew down through the valley, Jesus’ followers sat intently, listening to every word the teacher spoke. Self-sufficiency had no place in this Kingdom for the poor in spirit would mourn over sin and realize their desperate need for a Savior. Pride must be displaced with humility and craving for personal success with a thirst for personal righteousness. Purity of heart, so elusive in a sinful world, must shine in the hearts of all Jesus’ followers. Peace, not fighting for one’s rights, was the order of this Kingdom.
Living out the Beatitudes Takes Divine Assistance
To live out these ideals it would take more than hard work. It would require divine assistance. And that is just what Jesus had come to do. He was living the perfect life in human flesh on our behalf. By suffering the greatest persecution of death along with His resurrection from the dead He would procure power for living this Kingdom life for all who would believe in Him.
Living God’s Way Invites Persecution
In teaching the characteristics of Kingdom citizens Jesus didn’t mince any words. Those who would truly follow in His footsteps would suffer persecution. Others living for themselves and drawn in by the world’s siren song would not appreciate those who focused solely on their relationship with God and others because it would shine a light on their own sin.
Are You a Citizen of God’s Kingdom
We, like the disciples reclining on a Galilean hillside, must consider the country to which we belong. We may hold papers stating we were born in a certain part of the earth, but where do our true loyalties lie? There is an eternal Kingdom with different values. If you are a citizen of that country would people around you be able to tell?
Thank you Sandy.
Great question to end on! Something we each should deeply consider.