Jesus Teaches the Crowds
Open Your Bible
Matthew 5:1-11, Luke 6:20-26, Matthew 5:13-20, Matthew 6:1-4, Matthew 7:7-12, Matthew 7:24-29
BY Aurora Eagen
I was being swallowed by waves of deepening fears. In this crowd full of levity, I was keenly aware that my words begged patience from their hearers. It would take time to say what I meant to say, and even then, would my words only be parading depth? Or was there something true in them? And was this the time for them to be said? I felt alien and out of place.
I gave my speech before the crowd and finished by inviting them to join me in a blessing over the couple whose wedding we had gathered for:
“May your devotion to your home, to your community, to the work before you, grow and bear good fruit, but would your commitment to each other supersede them and be unmatched—except only by that great love which gives all these loves existence. Would all your loves grow to emulate that kind of faithful devotion that holds us all in eternal affection.”
I’ve been pondering this blessing. This encouragement was given for this particular moment in time, but it was encouraged by pointing to a future of greater blessing. A vision of future beauty and goodness comforts us now because there is continuity: the seeds are already planted.
When Jesus says that the poor, or meek, the hungry and the grieving are blessed, He is declaring a current comfort to those suffering based on a future reality that has already begun to break in.
Jesus is announcing a new order. If you’re suffering in the old one, hold tight.
For inherent in this new kingdom is a righteousness—an awareness of God’s right order—that is perfectly at home. Now we are empty and deprived because the world is upside down; we are not at home.
This is Jesus’s message to the masses. He begins with comfort.
If we’ve started living upside down to cope, though, God’s coming kingdom may make us a little woozy. If we’re already keenly aware that something is terribly askew, well, God has some good news: we’re going to be well. Spiritual and physical poverty are what’s not at home in the right-side-up kingdom.
In fact, it is our very commitment to this right-side-up kingdom that makes it visible. However much friction we experience in living according to that vision, all those rains, floods, and winds will only show that this foundation stands the test. God’s dominion is a truer reality.
When we live this way, our light will shine out to others, but our left hand won’t see the right’s actions. The righteousness that Jesus will fill us with is hidden; God is at work in, through, and around us, even when we don’t know it.
When I stood trembling in my shoes, blessing the couple and feeling like a failure, God was busy shining. Though all I felt was my lack, He was speaking blessing through me and over me.
Eventually, God’s blessings fill all lack.