Fourth Week of Epiphany
Listen. Jesus gives us a new set of glasses to prepare us for life in his new kingdom, which will be unlike any kingdom the world has ever seen. These glasses, called the Beatitudes, helps us see what Jesus sees when he sees a “blessed” person. Blessed simply means “happy” or someone people would want to be.
How would you describe a person that others wish they could be?
Put a list together. Now compare that list to Jesus’ list in Matthew 5:1-12. Here is a guide to some of the more difficult terms in the Beatitudes:
- poor in spirit – someone who knows they need God
- meek – to be strong but gentle; only power when God wants you to.
- hunger and thirst for righteousness – those who want themselves and the world to be what God wants us to be
- merciful – to show love to those who need it even if you think they don’t deserve it
- pure in heart – those who only want what God wants
- peace-makers – those who do the hard work of helping people get along with each other; they never give up.
- persecuted, insulted, lied about – those are rejected, insulted, hurt, or slandered because they love and follow Jesus.
Which of Jesus’ blessings seem to fit the world as you see it?
Which ones challenge how you see “blessed” on a gut level?
It is clear that mourning is not a happy thing. Nor does it feel good to be rejected. What makes us blessed when we experience these things is not the experiences themselves, but the promises God gives us when we experience them. There are two types of promises in the Beatitudes: “theirs is” – a promise of what is already true; “they will” – a promise of what God will do.
Re-read Matthew 5:1-12 together and look for these promises.
Which of these promises speak to you?
Respond. If Jesus’ glasses give us a true picture of the world, if Jesus is right about what it means to be blessed, what will you do? Be personal and specific as you think through some of these prompts:
- Is Jesus challenging you to trust Him with a certain aspect of your life?
- Do you need God’s forgiveness for something specific?
- Is there something you learned that makes you grateful for God?
- Is God calling you to pray in a certain way?
Share. Jesus gave these glasses to us so that we can give them away to others. Who will we share this lesson with?