Friday, June 22, 2007


Matthew 5v1-12:
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Another different perspective from Steve Chalke's book 'The Lost Message of Jesus'...

How many times have I heard this passage preached upon? Probably well in excess of ten times, I'd think. Most of those times, the passage was expounded in such a way as to suggest that the various qualities mentioned (i.e. 'poor in spirit', 'meekness', etc.) are the qualities that a Christian should have.

Steve Chalke suggests that maybe this isn't the case. Maybe Jesus was simply looking around at those around him. He sees some folk who are 'poor in spirit' and says to them 'you are blessed', and so on. The suggestion is that its not a case of 'in order to be blessed you must have these attributes' but rather it is 'you, whoever you are and whatever your status, are blessed by God' - the blessing comes before the transformation, not the other way around. Steve Chalke suggests that the message of Jesus is that God's blessing is available here and now for everyone, not just for those who have a particular set of attributes.

I like this reasoning. But is it right?

Do you need to repent or change in order to get the blessing, or is transformation an inevitable consequence of receiving the blessing?

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