Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Matthew 5:1-12 is a passage of the Bible with a name attached to it, the "beatitudes." The Latin word beatus means "blessed." So here, where Jesus speaks of the many beati people, we call the passage, in effect, the passage of blessings.
It goes without saying that people have written many books just about this passage, and even about any one of the concepts. Since we want to make a brief post, it won't do to discuss the whole passage.
The shift from the third person (they) to the second person (you) in verse eleven is intriguing to me. As a listener, I think it's all well and good when Jesus speaks about "them." But here he turns to speaking about "you." My ears perk up. How am I blessed?
He says I am blessed when people speak badly of me on account of him. It has to be false, mind you, and about him. It would be pretty easy for me to provoke people to speak negatively about me, negative but truthful things, because I deserve them. But when people speak badly of me and it is false, and it is not because of me but because of Jesus? I don't want to provoke that, and I couldn't anyway.
There is a negative attitude in our world about the things of God. God in Christ is somehow threatening, because He knows and says what is right and true. Jesus doesn't affirm us in our sin. Rather, he condemns the sin and offers us forgiveness. The condemnation is hard for people to take. And we want to work our problems out for ourselves.
Jesus will not have that. We can't save ourselves any more than we can sprout wings and fly. We need to depend on Jesus. We don't like that, but it's what the Bible presents as true.
Why would people speak badly of us for Jesus' sake? Because we speak as he does about sin, and because we depend on him for salvation.
When that happens, Jesus says we are blessed. It is the very way people treated God's prophets. Our reward is in heaven, not on earth. Jesus looks upon us and rewards our faithfulness to his message. We are blessed indeed.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.