The shape of a new community
Chapter 6… After the choosing of the 12
See vs 16 and following…large crowds were coming to him to be changed, somehow. Jesus speaks to the down trodden a very unexpected teaching. He’s not just speaking to the 12:
Blessed….are you. The blessings on the plain and the mount.
Are there mere quotes Jesus is formulating for decorating 20th century plaques? Surely not!
How are the poor blessed? It was taught in the day that to be poor was to be blessed, so how is it that Jesus indicates that they are blessed?
Meekness, persecuted… Poor: are these things to become? To attain?
These are not directives, they are alignment statements, to help people understand that God is on the side of people who are in these situations. Isn’t this indicative of grace? The fact that God is on the side of those who have no reason to be on their side.
Was not God originally on the side of people. Jesus is not turning things upside down, but he is putting things to right. Notice, the blessing is not for those who have attained a particular status, or level of piety. The blessing is for those who are not deserving, who have themselves not done ‘something’ to earn such blessing.
“object of grace” as the definition of blessed here, a sort of “on your side” phraseology
Blessings are always followed by curses. Are we trying to become those he pronounced the woes to?
Do we recognize our own true poverty? It’s not about trying to become poor, it’s about recognizing that that is in fact the condition in which we are in.
We ought not to be proud, independent, and righteous in our own right. If we are, if we do, then we have no need for Jesus.
I need to daily confess my poverty, not for piety, but as confirmation of the real state of things. I must daily come to terms with the knowledge that I’ll never be self-sufficient… And that that fact should move me to be ever more dependent upon God.