6/22/23 Devotional from Ed
June 22, 2023
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
When I picture Jesus preaching, I think of someone standing up front, perhaps elevated, and certainly someone who appears to be in charge. However, the standing, the elevation above everyone else, the typical preaching style, are not descriptions we see in the text above.
Matthew’s gospel gives us something different than my image. Matthew tells us that Jesus sat down and then the disciples came to him. Jesus, God in flesh, is not putting himself above anyone, which is demonstrated in his preaching, starting in verse 3.
Starting with verse 3, read the verse, close your eyes, and then imagine Jesus sitting with you and saying it. Are the words unexpected, surprising, and maybe even shocking? When you close your eyes, do you imagine a world different than the one society gives us now? If you are mourning, meek, or hungry – what do these words say to you? Do they provide comfort?
Certainly these words can provide comfort, but there are some other things to lift up from Jesus’ words. Notice the transition starting in verse 6: We move from descriptions to calls to action. Jesus reminds us to “thirst for righteousness, be merciful, seek purity, and seek peace.” When you closed your eyes, did you hear Jesus’ nudge?
May we find comfort and a charge from a sitting Jesus’ sermon!
Prayer: Holy God, we recognize today that we are blessed because you are with us. May we take these words of comfort and use them to a blessing to another. Amen.