The Gospel of the Beatitudes

Note: The video below includes profanity. If you’re in a public place, heads up.

For the last several weeks we’ve been journeying through Jesus’ beatitudes with our church. This morning I’ve been reflecting on the last couple months and as I do I find myself once again captivated by Jesus and overwhelmed by the depth and richness of his words.

In the beatitudes Jesus puts flesh and color on the resounding theme of his life: the presence and availability of the kingdom of God. Those present to hear his words no doubt found them every bit as shocking as we do.

In a culture marked by religious oppression and exclusivity, one in which things like power and financial blessing were assumed to be evidence of God’s favor, Jesus makes a shocking announcement: The kingdom of God is available to those religion has failed and the world has forgotten.

To those the world would deem a hopeless case or a lost cause, Jesus proclaims in no uncertain terms there is no such thing in the kingdom of God. No person is beyond saving. No life is beyond the reach of God’s blessing.

Dallas Willard writes: “The religious system of his day kept the multitudes out, but Jesus welcomed them all into his kingdom. Anyone could come as well as any other. They still can. This is the gospel of the beatitudes.”

In the beatitudes Jesus is swinging the door of the kingdom wide open.

Therefore, “Blessed are the flunk-outs, the drop-outs, and the burn-outs. The broke and the broken. The drug heads and the divorced. The HIV-positive and herpes-ridden. The brain-damaged, the incurably ill. The barren and the pregnant too-many-times or at the wrong time. The overemployed, underemployed, the unemployed. The unemployable. The swindled, the shoved aside, the replaced. The parents with children living on the street, the children with parents not dying in the “rest” home. The lonely, the incompetent, the stupid. The emotionally starved or emotionally dead…

Even the moral disasters will be received by God as they come to rely on Jesus, count on him, and make him their companion in his kingdom. Murderers and child-molesters. The brutal and the bigoted. Drug lords and pornographers. War criminals and sadists. Terrorists. The perverted and the filthy and the filthy rich…
To the worshiper of Satan. To those who rob the aged and weak. To the cheat and the liar, the bloodsucker and the vengeful. Blessed! Blessed! Blessed! As they fleet into the arms of The Kingdom Among Us.”

Today may you make the conscious choice to stop closing the door Jesus died to open. May you joyfully walk through it and experience the blessedness of God’s grace. And as you do, may you join him in his work of holding that door for others.

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