The App series The Chosen has made a wonderful impact on my life. Their portrayal of Jesus and the biblical stories made me want to read the Gospels through a new lens. I know a lot of the dialogue and the scenes are “fiction”, but I believe they are soundly based on Scripture. The way they portray the characters and the events transfers them from words on a page to real human experiences to which we can all relate.
I have a new hunger to read and study the Gospels slowly, with intent, purpose, and a teachable heart. I want to see beyond the words I often read too quickly. I want them to penetrate my whole person (spirit, soul, and body.) I no longer want to just read about Jesus and what He did, I want to see who he is through the example he lived for us, as I sit at his feet while he teaches me. My heart’s desire is to grow deeper in relationship with him.
I began this journey in Matthew. I read slowly, made notes, read commentaries, and did my normal Bible Study routine. By the time I arrived at Matthew 5:3-12, it finally dawned on me that I needed to pray for revelation, wisdom, and enlightenment on what I was studying. I needed the Holy Spirit to reveal the Scriptures to me. I am slow, but I get there eventually! Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Be this person.” I understood that to mean that all of verses 3-12 applied.
We will come back to chapters one through four of Matthew in later studies. But for now, we will begin with Matthew 5:3-12, commonly referenced as The Beatitudes. Activating these verses in our lives is not optional, nor are they multiple choice. They all apply to the life of everyone who calls themselves a Christ follower.
The word for blessed (makarious) used in Matthew 5 refers to a current state of being. It does not mean if we do this, we will get that. Each of the nine “blessed” verses begin with “Blessed are” they do not begin with “blessed will be”. The Greek word makarious used here is a grace word that references satisfaction in abundance, an authentic spiritual joy, peace, and feeling of well-being. It implies a state of happiness that already exists in the life of the believer. A popular commentary on Jesus as seen through the culture of his time on earth, describes the word as someone who is already happy because they already have something or have already been promised something. They do not have to do anything to earn a reward, it is already theirs. The commentary goes on to say that this distinctive spiritual joy accrues to man from his share in the salvation of the Kingdom of God.
With this definition of blessed in mind, the Beatitudes describes a person who is already happy because these characteristics are already active in their lives. Jesus lived the ‘blessed” life! The Beatitudes describe the person of Jesus and how we can learn to be like him.
A Declaration of the Beatitudes for right living.
Although not all of these are always actively on display in my life, I declare them over myself as I grow in spiritual maturity. However, I do know that I am blessed! When life gets me down, all I have do is read through this declaration and my mood swiftly changes as I praise God for the blessings He has already given to me.
I am sure that these declarations will change as go I deeper into study. These verses are rich with meaning and when you tie them to the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus used as the foundation of his sermon, you cant help but sit back in awe, raise your hands, and shout praise to God!
- I am blessed because I know and recognize that I am spiritually bankrupt without God. His grace allows me to set aside all self-dependence and rely on Him alone. I have spiritual joy and peace in this life with the knowledge that I already live in the Kingdom of God here on earth where God rules. I have a future home made just for me and it was prepared by Jesus himself (v3).
- I am blessed because I am sorry for willful rebellion, unintentional sin, lack of and unbelief. Through my sorrow and repentance, He comforts me and forgives me. I live in peace knowing that all is well with my soul, that I no longer live in shame. I know that He is with me and comforts me through all that this life brings. Though sorrow may come, either through loss or sin, there is joy in the morning (v4).
- I am blessed because the Holy Spirit helps me to grow spiritually and guides me in areas of self-discipline. He teaches me humility and self-control. In my weakness He is made strong. I have the same power that raised Jesus from dead living inside of me and I know that I will succeed and be prosperous when I strive to eradicate prideful behaviors from my life. I display the fruits of the Spirit through, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (v5).
- I am blessed because I love the Word of God, and I strive to be obedient and accordingly. I hunger to know Him more and continually grow in spiritual maturity. I am filled with the Holy Spirit, hallelujah! (v6).
- I am blessed because God is merciful! I can do nothing to earn his favor. He gave His One and Only Son so that I might live. Because I remember that I have been granted unmerited favor, I strive to forgive others promptly and show mercy to those who have wronged me (v7).
- I am blessed and I know that I shall see God! I have been made pure because the blood of Jesus has washed me clean (v8).
- I am blessed because I am a child of God! Whenever it is possible and within my ability, I will be a peacemaker. I will not let anger control my behavior and I will help others in reconciling differences (v9).
- I am blessed and I do not take offense when I am persecuted for my love of Jesus and speaking out in truth (v10).
- I am blessed because I know that Jesus is my intercessor and he defends me to the Father when others speak evil and falsely against me. I praise God and I rejoice because I am counted among the prophets who were persecuted before me (v11)
- I have a great reward waiting for me in heaven (v12)!