There are three aspects to the gospel of the Kingdom in this passage.
- Jesus preached/proclaimed the good news. The word used is like a town crier proclaiming news in ancient times. Bold, clear and challenging in such a way that people need to listen and respond.
- Teaching – Jesus explained and opened up the difficulties, questions and attitudes that needed challenging. Preaching gets hold of our will to bring change and teaching informs the mind.
- Healing – Jesus healed everyone who came to him of sickness, injury and demonic influence.
To bring the kingdom we need to be preaching, teaching and healing!
Crowds began to follow Jesus, so he took them up on a mountainside to give the Sermon on the Mount, one of the most powerful sermons ever given. I love the beatitudes. God promises us happiness and then some! The nine “Blessed…” are a powerful promise from the Lord to you. In the Greek language “blessed” – makarios communicates the idea of contentment, fulfilment, satisfaction, completion, approval by God. Jesus is giving us the ingredients that result in absolute contentment, fulfilment and happiness in life. He’s saying “You can be happy in this life…you can be content, you can be fulfilled, you can blessed.”
- Poor in spirit – poverty is a lack of choice, a lack of empowerment. Those who are poor in spirit are those who have realised they have no way to improve themselves spiritually. They need the generosity of Jesus.
- Those who mourn – once you realise you are hopeless without God, there’s a sorrow for sin and a mourning that leads to a real change of mind about God – repentance.
- The meek – meekness is not weakness. Meek is a horse that has been brought under control.
- Those who hunger after righteousness – when we hunger for God He delights us with a feast of His goodness and love.
- The merciful – you may be right, but when you heap mercy on others, God heaps mercy on you.
- The pure in heart – The Greek words for pure mean to cleanse or purge or purify. Allow the Lord to cleanse, pure and purify your heart of all hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness.
- The peacemakers – Some people thrive on conflict. The common characteristic these people share is a visible lack of happiness. They aren’t happy and they do all that they can to make sure no one else is. There are also those who have an amazing capacity for bringing people together. They know how to nip conflict in the bud, and they can make the worst of enemies into the best of friends. Be a peacemaker!
- The persecuted – Christianity is no easy ride! Jesus promised trouble in this life and living the last seven points in the power of the Spirit will get you in trouble.
- The reviled – people will make up stuff about you if there is nothing they can find! That’s a great way to live – no evil in us, so people have to make it up!
The kind of true happiness in those nine beatitudes is contagious – salt and light to a decaying and dark world. As our friends see us living life together, loving one another they will want to know more – tell them. Who will you share God’s love with today?