#DailyDevotion Jesus Gathers His People & Blesses Them (i.e. You)
Matt. 5 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the hill. And when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2Then He began to teach them:
3“Blessed are those who are poor in spirit —the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 4Blessed are those who mourn -they will be comforted. 5Blessed are those who are gentle —they will own the land. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to be righteous —they will be satisfied. 7Blessed are those who are merciful —they will find mercy. 8Blessed are those whose hearts are pure —they will see God. 9Blessed are those who make peace –they will be called God’s sons. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing right —the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Mountains are important in the Bible, indeed in most religious scenes. They are people go to meet God or their gods. It’s kind of a recognition that the divine is somewhere up there and mountains are the closest place to get to the divine. In the Bible, in Exodus, the LORD meets Moses and his people at Mt. Horeb or Mt. Sinai. There he gathers his people to himself and gives them his Law and makes a covenant with them. There are many other instances of the LORD meeting with his people on the mountains.
Here now the LORD Jesus gathers his disciples to himself. When he gave the Law on Sinai he began with, Ex. 202“I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves,” which was preceded by trumpet blast, fire, smoke and earthquakes. It was quite a scary scene. I’m not quite sure how comforting these words from verse two would be. Now, on another mountain top there are no trumpets, no fire or smoke, and no earthquakes. It’s quite a peaceful scene. Yet Matthew is making a connection between the two. Jesus is not a new Moses though but as one who is greater than Moses. John says, 117”The Law was given through Moses, but Jesus Christ brought grace and truth.”
This is brought out at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Does he start off with law, threats and demands? No, Jesus starts off with blessings. Many in the Church have tried to turn the Beatitudes into commands or at the very least evangelical councils or virtues. But they are none of these things. Jesus pronounces blessings on his disciples which he will fulfill in himself. By our connection or participation in Jesus through baptism, his Supper and the faith he gives us, we too will manifest these various aspects in our life: poor in spirit, mourn, gentle, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure hearts, making peace and being persecuted.
Certainly Jesus follows these beatitudes with the Law of Moses as the LORD intended for Israel to follow and keep, which is much harder than any fallen human being could ever keep. But here are the descriptions of Jesus’ disciples, those who would trust in him, follow him and be made participants in his life. These blessings Jesus Christ, the LORD, will live in the lives of those joined to him. Paul says Gal. 2:20 “I don’t live anymore, but Christ lives in me.” Jesus will live these things in and through you and you will receive these blessings. Simply continue to participate in his life through faith, baptism and his Supper.
Heavenly Father, grant that we are joined to Christ Jesus your Son through faith and baptism and we continually participate in Christ in his holy supper that the blessings which blesses his disciples may fall upon us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.