Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
but stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
it fears not the heat when it comes;
its leaves stay green;
in the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
(40:5a) Blessed are
they who hope in the Lord. Blessed the man who follows
the counsel of the wicked,
nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
but delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night. Blessed are they who
hope in the Lord. He is like a tree
planted near running water,
that yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers. Blessed are they who
hope in the Lord. Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Brothers and sisters:
If Christ is preached as raised from the dead,
how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the
If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised,
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain;
you are still in your sins.
Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ,
we are the most pitiable people of all.
But now Christ has been
raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Jesus came down with
and stood on a stretch of level ground
with a great crowd of his disciples
and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”
When Jesus gives his
Beatitudes in Matthew and Mark, he first climbs a mountain,
as if to indicate that what he is going to say is as yet
above us; an ideal, a promised outcome of the long climb
ahead. When he gives his Beatitudes in this gospel of Luke,
he comes down from the mountain into the plain, at the level
were we live and where his listeners had assembled. Those
listeners had come from very far, from all parts of Judea,
from Jerusalem, Tyre, and Sidon. They had come, the gospel
explains, to hear him and be cured. The people assembled
were men and women who had left their homes, jobs, work,
worries, and opportunities behind. They had gone a long way
to hear him and to be helped by him.
Then, looking at them,
fixing his eyes on his disciples, Jesus says: “How blessed
are you who are poor! How blessed are you who are hungry!
How blessed are you who weep now!” What did he mean? “How
blest are you . . .” and he continued to speak to them in
very plain talk.
So what does His message
from the bottom of that mountain say to us in this day and
age. Perhaps it can best be summed up this way; “How
blessed are we who put God fist in our lives. You know,
like before money, before fame, before popularity, peers,
wealth, political correctiveness, television, computer
games, texting on cell phones, gossiping, judging others, or
like maybe anything else that might interfere with Him being
first and foremost in our lives. As far as I know, that’s
the only way that we will come to know happiness and
holiness. Our call to live out those beatitudes is a call
to a happiness and holiness that will lead to His Kingdom,
and that my friends, is a lifetime pursuit. Giving
ourselves completely and totally to God for whatever purpose
He wants to use us for. For in our efforts to pursue
holiness we can appreciate the truth that the beatitudes
challenge us to go deeper beneath the surface of our being
to make that happen.
Perhaps we might say that
they are about how we can put God’s love into action in our
everyday ordinary lives, doing those things that will make
it possible for us to have an eternal presence with Him
after this journey is over. It takes a very different kind
of courage to respond to those words spoken by Jesus beneath
that mountain, or even if he was on top. And we should know
that there might be a great risk, there is always a great
risk in living out God’s love, because there is always those
people and those temptations that will try and persuade us
not to. When we think about it, how have we been persecuted
for holiness’ sake in some way or another? Living this
journey of life to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is never
easy. It isn't suppose to be. But to do so, we must put
ourselves aside for the sake of those in poverty, who are
sick, the outcasts, the homeless, the lonely, the widowed,
and those who are weak and hungry, for a better outcome in
their lives. If we are going to take those words to heart,
then we have to live them.
Because it’s not about us
folks, it’s about God and what His will is for us. Yes,
many of us are limited in some way ourselves, just about
everyone is. That is why we do not go this journey alone.
We go it together, our sinfulness and all, despite our
sinfulness and all, to the best that we are able. Effort is
what counts to God. Have we done the most with what He has
given us? Our talents, our treasures, our gifts, our
talents, our skills, our wisdom, our compassion, our
Jesus wasn't just speaking
to those disciples of His my friends, he was also speaking
to all of humankind for all times. Until we release
ourselves unto His will - the world, this country, will
never change for the better. Nothing is ever going to
change unless I change, unless you change. We can't sit on
our proud achievements of the past. I use to do this, I use
to do that, I've already done my share many years ago. This
is now people, and Jesus is preaching to us from that
mountainside right now. The government leaders of this
country are trying very hard to put the word of Jesus and
the cause of Christianity at the bottom of nowhere. Now,
more than ever, is the time to start living out these words
of Jesus. Our actions must be a voice that speaks loud and
clear that we will not, and I mean all Christians, just
simply give in to the pressure. But the opposite, we will
be the force that will put Christianity and Jesus as the
guiding light of this great nation. Will we will respond
and act, or turn our ears and heart away. It’s each ones
own choice, but a choice that we make as one Body of
Christ. It is my prayer that this message was
meaningful to you. Thank you. God bless you all this coming week.