Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Jesus teaching a crowd about who is blessed.
He said things like “Blessed are the poor” and “Blessed are those who mourn”. A set of counter-cultural, surprising statements that don’t seem to fit our world.
I think most people stop and say, wait, is that true? Are those people blessed? Mourning and poverty aren’t things we usually pursue in life, because the experienced doesn’t feel all that blessed!
But Jesus wasn’t describing the world as it is today. He was describing the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is how Jesus summarized his teaching mission. It’s part reminder – reminding us that we were made for a life with God, in a close personal relationship with our creator, in harmony with him and everything and everyone he created.
It’s part future promise – God intends to restore that way of life to this world. He’s inviting us to join him there.
It’s part present reality – Jesus was showing people his kingdom every time he healed, resurrected the dead, showed love, taught and sacrificed for this world.
In the Beatitudes, we can see this. In the world God created us for, is restoring us to, and is showing us in Jesus, the blessings aren’t just for the rich, powerful or elite. They’re for the people who need them most – the poor, the mourning, the hungry, the sad, the persecuted, and so on.
In God’s kingdom, they are blessed. Jesus was teaching about this to invite us to start practicing this way of life. To start seeing the world in his way, including ourselves and others around us.
Lots of leaders in our world see the world quite differently, and see themselves as the ones who should be blessed. Whether it’s pastors who steal from the offering plate, or businesspeople who cook the books, humans are prone to blessing ourselves.
But Jesus’ beatitudes are all about a world where the opposite happens – the blessed are those who need it most. And he’s one of us – a homeless, wandering preacher who ended up vilified, tried without cause, condemned to torture and death – not exactly blessed by most standards. Why follow him?
Jesus is a leader worth following because he’s one leader who isn’t leading for his own benefit, but for others. He lived the beatitudes daily – blessing those who didn’t deserve it, even at his own expense, as we’ll explore next week.
Question: Who is blessed in our world? How does it compare to Jesus’ list?