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Upside-Down Blessings - Forward with Back to the Bible - November 10

  • 2021 Nov 10

Upside-Down Blessings

November 10

Read Matthew 5:3-5 (ESV)

“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 shall inherit the earth.”

Reflect 

How do these beatitudes demonstrate the upside-down nature of Jesus’ kingdom?

When you think about blessed or happy people, who do you picture? I tend to picture people who have good things happening in their lives. They are confident, successful individuals who work hard to “make it happen.” They dream it, achieve it, and have it all.

But in today’s verses, we learn that when Jesus preached blessedness, He had something else in mind. This sense of happiness and well-being that Jesus promised seems upside down, inside out, and backwards. Instead of the confident, the joyful, the successful, and the assertive acquiring the kingdom of heaven, Jesus promised His kingdom to those who are poor in spirit, mourning, and meek. What does He mean by all this?

First, when Jesus says “blessed are the poor in spirit,” He means blessed are those who are broken over their sin. These people are aware of the full weight of their transgressions. They understand that no matter how hard they try, they will never attain God’s perfect standard of holiness. They know they need a Savior, so they gratefully accept the Gospel. It isn’t the self-confident or the prideful that are given the kingdom of heaven. Those people don’t think they need Jesus, and for that reason, they have no claim to the kingdom of heaven.

Second, Jesus said “blessed are those who mourn.” Again, Jesus was talking about people who are mourning their sin and the broken relationship with God as a result. Paul spoke of this kind of mourning in 2 Corinthians 7:10: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” Those of us who are grieved by our sins tend to repent and turn from our sins. We turn to God and thus, we are comforted with the promise of salvation. As believers in Jesus, we go from mourning to dancing (Psalm 30:11).

Third, Jesus taught that it is the meek who will inherit the earth. It’s important to note that meekness is not weakness, though the world often perceives it that way. Meekness is gentleness and obedience. The meek are willing to submit to God rather than try to force their own will and control their own lives. Jesus was referring to a Psalm of David when He taught this principle. “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace” (Psalm 37:11). We don’t inherit the Kingdom of God by being aggressive, controlling, and domineering. We inherit the Kingdom by bowing our knees in obedience to the Lord.

Today’s passage is taken from Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount.” In it, Jesus is teaching about the realities of His Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is sometimes referred to as an “upside-down” kingdom because it operates in a manner that is the exact opposite of the way the kingdoms of this world operate. Jesus taught that the way to experience blessings in heaven is not the approach the world typically takes. Jesus is clearly teaching that we don’t earn our way into His Kingdom. Citizenship in Heaven is a gift granted to those who understand that they need the gift of salvation so they humbly accept it in faith.

Friends, when Jesus said that those who are poor in spirit, mourning, and meek would be blessed, He didn’t mean that those who accept Christ become immediately happy. But He did mean that we would have a God-given sense of well-being and a peace in our hearts because we know that our hope is not of this world. Our hope is not in the temporal things of this world. Our hope is in His heavenly kingdom.

Pray

Lord, thank You for the blessed peace that I have because of Your promises. I confess my sins to You and humbly accept Your forgiveness. I know that I am spiritually bankrupt without You. Amen. 

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