When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he began to speak and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-3

If you had to summarize the message of the Bible in one word, what would it be? Love?  Jesus? Grace? I know, it seems like a ridiculous thing to do. How can we possibly summarize all that God’s word conveys to us in just one word? But as my midweek bible study group begins our study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, I have been pondering this question. Because I believe that Jesus’ beatitudes, at the beginning of that sermon, offer a pretty good answer to this question. The best one-word summary of the Bible might very well be the first word of Jesus’ most famous sermon: “Blessed.” 

The Bible is really the story of God’s desire to bless us. It started at the beginning. The very first thing that God did after creating us was to bless us (Genesis 1:27-28). It could even be said that God created us in order to bless us. And throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God’s Word shows us all the many and various ways in which God blesses us. God created us to bless us, and even when we fall short, God blesses us with the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

The greatest blessing that God gave us, of course, is the gift of his own son, Jesus. And Jesus devoted his ministry on earth to continuing what his heavenly Father had done from the beginning, to bless us. It is the very reason Jesus became flesh, to bless us with his love, healing, forgiveness, and with the gift of eternal life. Everything that Jesus did, from his birth to the cross, was done to bless us. And our risen Savior still desires nothing more than to bless us all. 

And this brings me to the Beatitudes, which form the beginning of Jesus’ most famous sermon, his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), three full chapters of his blessed teaching. And the very first word of this famous sermon is “blessed.” (The Latin word for blessed is what gives us the familiar name of the beginning of this sermon – the “Beatitudes.”)

In nine wonderful statements, Jesus offers nine incredible blessings. But these blessings are not what we expect! The “poor in spirit” are blessed by Jesus? “Those who mourn”? “The meek”? Even those who are “persecuted for the sake of righteousness”? What does Jesus mean by all of this? How can it be true? And what does it teach us about our blessed life in Christ? 

This is what I will be exploring in this new series of blog posts. Each week, I will share a post on one of the beatitudes of Jesus found in Matthew 5:3-12. What does it mean to be blessed by Jesus, and how can we respond to these blessings? Pondering these questions, with our Bible open to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, can be incredibly rewarding. Even, I might say, blessed. So let’s journey together down the path of blessedness.

4 thoughts on “The Path of Blessedness

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