Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Those Pesky Red Letters - Book of Matthew - Part 2

  Okay, do me a favor.  Head over to your bookshelf and grab that dusty old tome.  You know, the one with the cross on it?  Once you do flip forward to a book called Matthew and read chapters five, six and seven.  Take your time with them, read them over and over.  Don't worry, I'll wait up for you.  You might also want to catch read the earlier part of this series found, here.

   Done?  Good.  Now it's time to dive into them a little bit.   I don't think that the importance of these scriptures can be overstated.  This is our first true introduction to the teachings of Jesus.  These three chapters will give you context and inspiration for everything else in the Bible.  If you are wondering where you should start.  This is as good of place as any.

   The Beatitudes.  Quoting our friends over at Wikipedia we learn,
  The term Beatitude comes from the Latin adjective beatus which means happy, fortunate, or blissful.
and it really fits.  Verses 3 through 12 give you a great primer regarding what faith in Christ is supposed to be all about.   

   5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
     for theirs in the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)
   5:4 Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted. (NIV)
   5:5 Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth. (NIV)
   5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled. (NIV)
   5:7 Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God. (NIV)
   5:8 Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God. (NIV)
  5:9  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)
   You know, I hate to say it but some of those don't sound like our current old-school Christian leaders, do they?  First and foremost I want to mention that Jesus liked to teach in parables, basically meaning metaphors.  However, this reads more like a prayer to me and I think it is pretty easy to take it as it reads.  The poor in spirit are all of us, really, but I think that it can be made a case that these are sinners.  People who really need God are blessed by him.   People who mourn and are meek, let's rejoice in them.  They mourning need our love and the meek need shelter.   Righteousness is a word that has been corrupted, in my opinion.  From the Biblestudytools lexicon we can get a better feel for the context of the word.  Dikaiosune in the Greek of the Bible means integrity and purity, it goes right into the next verse but it is bigger and more powerful and all encompassing.  I think that it is mentionable that Christ brought this up twice, really emphasizing the part about being pure of heart.  If you can clean your heart of it's sins then the rest of your actions will naturally follow suit.  However, I think it should be said that righteousness isn't self-righteousness nor is it a justification for oppression and violence as it has been used by Western culture for 1800 years.  It is a state of mind and a state of accepting God and trying, to the best of your ability, to emulate Him and His teachings through Christ and the prophets.  The last one, I think we have all felt or done.  I have been on both ends of the spectrum.   

   I was hoping to do the Sermon on the Mount all as one post but it is obvious to me now that it is going to be too big for that.  If this small section of it took up this much space then I think God is telling me that there is much more here to say.   The gist of this little section comes down to blessing all of those around you, whether or not you want to.  Give grace to people and try to be a wholesome and upright person.   This is extremely hard to do and you will fail, just as I do, but the more we try the better life is for us and those around us.

Part 1 <-Previous Next-> Part 3 

No comments:

Post a Comment