During Lent, we have a weekly video that will help you reflect on the key themes from Words that Changed the World: The Message of Jesus. Pastor Cheryl Bell leads us through this week's video. Click here to watch it on YouTube (or click on the image below).
MONDAY 3.13.23 Matthew 5:1-16
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to him. 2 He taught them, saying:
3 “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
4 “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
5 “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
6 “Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
7 “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
8 “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.
9 “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.
10 “Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. 12 Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.
Translators usually choose either “blessed” or “happy” for makarios, the Greek word Matthew used to represent Jesus' Aramaic teaching. Scholar N. T. Wright said it meant “wonderful news,” explaining, “These ‘blessings’, the ‘wonderful news’ he’s announcing, are not saying ‘try hard to live like this.’ They are saying that people who already are like that are in good shape. They should be happy and celebrate.” * These “beatitudes” were about life in which God reigns, not our ordinary human life.
- “Jesus' words may seem strange, since he regards as ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’ those who are usually regarded as…unfortunate….this alerts us to the topsy-turvy nature of Jesus' teaching….‘Hopeless’ (or ‘poor in spirit’) refers to those who continue to look to God for help in the midst of their present, needy state.” ** What helps you keep looking to God’s world no matter how good or (more often) bad that day’s news headlines feel to you?
- Scholar William Barclay wrote, people “are to see our good deeds. In Greek there are two words for good. There is… agathos which simply defines a thing as good in quality; there is kalos which means that a thing is not only good, but also winsome and beautiful and attractive. The word used here is kalos.” *** Are there times when you feel like hiding your “light” (God’s presence in your life) under a basket? Prayerfully choose one attractive way you’ll shine your light toward others.
Lord Jesus, in this darkened, lonely, hurting world, make me more and more transparent so that your light can shine out of me like a beacon, spreading love, grace and peace. Amen.
* Wright, N.T., Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 36). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
** Eugene Eung-Chun Park and Joel B. Green, study note on Matthew 5:1-3 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 12 NT.
*** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew—Volume 1 Chapters 1–10 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 125.
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Mindy LaHood serves on the Worship Experience team at Church of the Resurrection. She loves all things related to worship and enjoys working with our talented team of staff and volunteers. One of her favorite things to read about and study are stained glass windows, and she considers herself very blessed to work and worship in a place with such a magnificent window.