The Sermon on the Mount

Day 2: The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12, Psalm 69:29-33, Isaiah 61:1-3, 1 Timothy 6:11-16


Every road trip with my children begins the same way. Without fail, ten minutes in, we hear:

“Are we there yet?” No, we’ve got hours to go. “How much longer?” I just told you.

Annoyed adults aren’t uncommon on road trips either. But I admire my kids’ longing for what is yet to come. They are looking forward. They want the future. Enduring in this state of “already but not yet” is an act of childlike faith. As Christ followers, we are already heirs of the kingdom of God, looking forward to its completion here on earth, which has yet to come.

The Beatitudes open Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, pointing us to the blessed “yet to come” of the kingdom. In these opening words, Jesus reveals otherworldly blueprints for kingdom living. His descriptions of blessedness are overflowing in the introduction, and they are signposts for this sermon and for the Christian life, both now and on into eternity.

Like the people listening to Jesus on the side of a mountain that day, we also come to Him wanting our needs satisfied and itches scratched. And as Jesus is prone to do, He points us in another direction, to a new way of understanding. Jesus wants to shatter our unmet expectations of life. He wants us to die to them, so He can give us new ones.

Lives that are fixed on this world are not sustainable for the coming kingdom of heaven. We need more than human remedies, and so Jesus brings His heaven-marinated truth, which rocks the rickety boat of our understanding. In the kingdom of heaven, being poor in spirit is a win because it points to the sufficiency of our God. Humility may not always get us ahead at the office, but we will inherit the whole earth because we are His sons. The Beatitudes are head-scratchers to us now, here on earth, because they point to a future and forever home in heaven.

Every verse of the Beatitudes reorients us away from our current conditions and toward what is coming soon, and very soon. As disciples of Christ, we do not find our comfort in a reinforced house of cards; we find it in the gospel of the kingdom of God, in the already and not yet. True flourishing and real life can only be found in the ways of the crucified and risen Christ. He invites us to discover true blessedness—joy, peace, contentment, rest, the thrill of adventure, and excitement—with Him and in the blessings to come. We will be called sons of God.

Rejoice, brothers! Because of Christ, our reward is great in heaven.

Written by J. A. Medders