Opportunity Jesus Chapter 14: Righteousness
Next week, we will look at “Instruction” – what life is like when lived according to the Kingdom of God (Sermon on the Mount). But before we get there, Jesus reveals what it takes to ENTER the Kingdom of God. This passage, known as the Beatitudes, reveals that entering the kingdom is not about “working hard to show Jesus how much we have changed”, but about trusting that you are “made righteous by Jesus and open up yourself to His work in you.” (p. 90).
The Beatitudes reveal the means to a fully satisfied life – both initially in entering the Kingdom of God and ongoing in living according to the Kingdom of God. From Opportunity Jesus (p. 91):
Jesus loves word pictures and parables. And the Beatitudes, while having individual meaning of utmost importance, also combine to describe something bigger. Collectively, they just might be a picture of salvation. The Beatitudes come first before Jesus speaks on righteous living. The Beatitudes can be looked at as a first step. They, combined together, describe the kind of person who, under the power of the Holy Spirit, can live the way the rest of the sermon describes.
Note this simple progression in the Beatitudes.
Poor in spirit: This could represent a person spiritually bankrupt before God. The place where you look at your life, and God’s holiness, and see there is a sin problem in you.
Mourn: This could represent sorrow for sin and repentance of it. The place where you acknowledge you’re a sinner, you’re sick of it, and you want help. So you turn from your sins in repentance, new life is granted, and you are changed.
Meek: This could represent waiting before God for His mercy. You lift up your hand to entrust your life to Jesus in meekness and wait for His merciful touch.
Hunger and thirst: This could represent asking for Jesus’s righteousness. To be made right. To be justified. To have Jesus’s righteousness imputed on us.
Merciful: This could represent your new role in this world as a compassion giver and circumstance changer because you have had it done unto you.
Pure in heart: This could represent the blessed result! We are made pure; we are saved.
Peacemaker: This could represent trying to bring others to Christ so that they can make peace with God and be saved.
Persecuted: This could represent what happens when we undergo this kind of transformation Jesus describes in the whole sermon.
It is through this cycle that we ENTER the Kingdom of God, GROW in the Kingdom of God and DISPLAY the beauty of the Kingdom of God to a watching world. May we point our community Jesus – not through acting like we have it all together, but through the humility that comes through knowing we don’t.
“Thousands of people are turned off to Jesus because Christians tend to act as if we have it all together once we have received Christ. (And we do have it all together positionally, but not practically!) So, we put on the perfect face also known as hypocrisy, and the world sees through that and calls us all a bunch of phonies. The truth is, we should be the most humble people in the world, for we are the one group in the world that admits before God that we don’t have it all together, don’t have the answers, and need a Savior. Being poor in spirit means we retain that humility.”