Focal passage: Matthew 5:1-16
I remember walking through a small suburban church in Greensboro when I heard music begin. I was shocked because I felt certain the person singing was the pop star John Legend. The vocals were, like Legend’s, unbelievably unique and powerful.
So I rushed into the sanctuary half expecting to see the mega-star only to discover that the breathtaking vocals were coming from an unassuming young man that was quite contrary to my expectations. After picking my jaw up off the sanctuary floor, I was able to take in the amazing experience and enjoy it.
I feel a little bit like this every time I come to the Beatitudes.
I get all amped up, “OK, Jesus is about to show us what Kingdom life looks like. He is going to show us how followers of the King are to live. Lets go!” And then I read what the blessed life looks like and my jaw hits the floor.
The blessed are those who are poor in spirit, not rich in spirit? They are those who mourn, not those who celebrate?
The blessed are the meek, not the impressive? They hunger and thirst for righteousness? They are not those who are already the most righteous? They are merciful, not powerful? Blessed are those who are pure in heart, not the strong in heart?
Can they really be the peacemakers, not the leaders? The blessed are persecuted, not successful?
And then – much like I did that Sunday morning, after processing the shock – I am able to take in the beauty of it all.
I see that Kingdom life is founded on the grace of God, hence Jesus beginning with those who are “poor in Spirit,” (3) and ends with the gladness of God’s people as they receive their great reward in heaven (12).
This is the Kingdom life Jesus has called us to.
This is what it means to be salt and light in the world. Followers of Jesus live out Kingdom life and transform the world by displaying God’s grace for God’s glory – causing passers-by to look at us and be shocked by the song that bursts forth from our community of faith.