Matthew 5: 1-12
Today’s passage is one of the most beautiful, meaningful, and poetic of the New Testament passages, known as the Beatitudes, which serves as the introduction to Jesus’s sermon on the Mount.
In the passage, Jesus just redefined what the Good life may look like by manifesting nine portraits of the people in the kingdom whom the world may consider losers, pushovers, and fools.
This is a list of losers, make no mistake about it. The merciful who keep forgiving their enemies so their enemies can beat them all over again. The pure in heart who believe everything they hear and empty their bank accounts to keep crooks in business. The peacemakers who step into the middle of a fist fight and get clobbered from both sides.
Never stop forgiving enemies, believing in everything and everyone like a fool, and stepping into the middle zone, these are God’s favorites.
Think of Jesus in the gospel, he never stopped forgiving his enemies until he died on the cross.
Please remember what his last words was on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they do.” Jesus believed in everyone until he got betrayed by one of his best friends. And Jesus came to the middle zone in order to erase and push the limit of its lines among people, which include Jews or Gentiles, men or women, young or old, and majority or minority. Jesus preached and lived such a way of life, which challenged his audience in the first century, and even today.
Perhaps, we all may be too good to re-interpret the Beatitudes in this way:
“Blessed are the strong, for they will not be fooled; Blessed are the rich that the world recognizes your faithfulness in God; Blessed are those who are pure of heart, for they will not see the value of the stock market; Blessed are those who pay an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, for their enemies will fear us.”
However, today’s passage challenges us to redefine what the good life means as if we may be seen as losers, pushovers, and even fools.
Yes, Jesus turned the known value of the world upside down. Upside down, we begin to understand Jesus, his ministry, and even the reason that he came to the world. Upside down, we begin to live out the dynamic of “dying is gain.” Upside down, we understand that when we are weak, then God will be strong.
In addition, upside down, we begin to see a real benefit of the Beatitudes.
The world may look funny upside down, but maybe that is just how God sees the world and each one of us according to the heavenly view. Amen.