“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.” Matthew 5:3–5 (NIV)
Who are the lucky ones? Some people just seem to have it made. They are the fortunate ones we want to be. He won the lottery. She is really good at everything she does. They have everything money can buy. Certainly having your health and having loved ones around you is good in anyones book. But who are the blessed ones? How could you tell?
In Jesus’ day, “the blessed” would have been the powerful ones who ruled the world. It was the rich who have everything they could possibly want. Of course the happy ones who always celebrating in front of everyone and post their perfect life for you to see have got it made. Those who get their revenge on their oppressors, the strong ones who can defend themselves and the ones who have the respect of everyone around them. People saw those things as signs of God’s favor. It really is not much different in that respect than it would be today. But interestingly Jesus says it doesn’t work that way.
The Blessed Life
This good life, according to Jesus, is open to everyone. It’s obvious that the rich and happy and strong and powerful have it good. What is not so obvious is that God’s kingdom is also available to the poor, sad, meek, persecuted peacemakers too. They are not blessed because of those things, but in spite of those things! There is nothing particularly virtuous about being poor or hated or sad. Jesus is not telling people how to get God to bless them. He is overturning their assumptions about who God blesses and what that looks like!
That Blessed Day
So if you are one of those who is looking at your life and feeling left out of God’s blessings, this passage (and the message I am bringing from it on Sunday at Mountain View Church) is for you. It is an invitation to reconsider God’s economy. Maybe nice guys do finish last in this world, but in the world to come, they inherit the earth. You may see the golden rule that “he who has the gold makes the rules” is true now, but it won’t always be that way. Of course you only hunger and thirst for justice or righteousness because you were deprived of it in some way, but you will be satisfied. I promise. Better yet, Jesus promises. And you can trust him. You’re his favored one. Really.