Scripture text for Monday, March 22nd, 2010: Matthew 5:1-6:4
This passage is known as the Beatitudes from the Latin for “blessed” or “happy.” The scene is the beginning of Jesus’ teaching ministry. In Matthew, Jesus has just called his first disciples and begun healing. And he goes up onto a mountain side, sits down and begins with these verses.
The Jews of the day believed that the first in the Kingdom of God would be the educated, the priests and teachers of the law (all males and middle to upper-class). The last in the Kingdom would then of course be the poor and often oppressed “people of the land,” along with women and gentiles.
But as Jesus ascends the mountainside, he names as “blessed” not the cultural and religious giants of his day, but the “poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” and a list of others who were often ignored and despised. He points out that it is these people who will receive a great heavenly reward.
Jesus did not assign value to people based upon their social status, but understood their value solely based upon the nature of their faith. All he could see was the heart.
Let us pray together this morning that we will be people that see hearts the way that Jesus did. May we not be distracted by the outer coverings of social status that are still valuable in our society. May we not ignore those that Jesus loved. And may we not based our own worth upon hollow standards of importance.
Devotion prepared by Dan Teefey