What would happen if we turned around the Sermon on the Mount? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Even many a skeptic of Christianity can find the Sermon on the Mount motivational. This is certainly a fine message that has great ethical principles. If we lived out the sermon well, how much better off our world would be?
Last night I was reading some N.T. Wright and he said the sermon though is not about ethics, but it is about mission. It is about sending the people out into the world. These are the kinds of people that will be sent out. Let’s consider that. What would happen if we went with a different kind of people instead?
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So let’s go through those one by one. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Those are the ones who will see the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who are not will not see the Kingdom. If someone doesn’t want to see the Kingdom, then they need to realize they have no right to force the king to let them in and it would fail anyway. Whatever else is the alternative to that, that must be accepted.
Those who are mourn are comforted, but those who don’t will not be. This is I think not just mourning for natural causes like death of loved ones, but mourning over sin. If you mourn over your sin, you will be comforted. If you don’t, you won’t.
Blessed are the meek. They will inherit the Earth. The contrary is that those on the opposite end will not. Those who try to rule by force and bring about the Kingdom that way will not inherit the Earth. Again, whatever the alternative, that is for them.
If you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be filled. That is a guarantee. If you want to be righteous, truly righteous, you ultimately will be. Note that if you try to live like a demon and then think you can get it anyway, then it won’t happen. Those who hunger and thirst will live like it.
The merciful will be shown mercy. If you do not show mercy, do not expect to receive it. This brings to mind the parable of the unmerciful servant. He did not show mercy, because he did not think he had received it.
The pure in heart will see God. One of the reasons for this is that they are the only ones who want to. If you are not pure in heart, then you will not see God. If God is the greatest good, then this is truly a tragedy for someone’s life.
The peacemakers will be called the children of God. Some might think that rules out self-defense, but that is not always so. Usually, this is against someone who is violating the peace. Disrupting them is restoring the peace. This why Wyatt Earp called his gun, the peacemaker. If you do not wish to have peace, you are not a child of God.
Those who are persecuted for righteous are those who identify with the kingdom of God and show themselves citizens. If they are persecuted for that truly, then they are the children of God. Persecution in itself does not mean you are a child of God. Persecution for the true Kingdom does.
And if you don’t like that treatment from the enemies, you are still blessed. This is what was done by those who went before you, the prophets and others. You’re in good company.
The Sermon reminds us of the kind of people we are to be as Kingdom people. If we live that out, then we are servants of the Kingdom and we get the benefits. If we don’t live it out, we can expect the opposite.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)