The Beautiful Beginning

Written on 07/25/2018
Luke Estrada

Psalm 119:9-16

How can a young man stay pure?
    Only by living in the word of God and walking in its truth.
10 I have longed for you with the passion of my heart;
    don’t let me stray from your directions!
11 I consider your prophecies[c] to be my greatest treasure,
    and I memorize them and write them on my heart
    to keep me from committing sin’s treason against you.
12 My wonderful God, you are to be praised above all;
    teach me the power of your decrees!
13 I speak continually of your laws
    as I recite out loud your counsel to me.
14 I find more joy in following what you tell me to do
    than in chasing after all the wealth of the world.
15 I set my heart on your precepts
    and pay close attention to all your ways.
16 My delight is found in all your laws,
    and I won’t forget to walk in your words

Matthew 5:3-12

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

   for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

   for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

   for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

   for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

   for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

   for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

If you look at the scriptures we have been studying this summer; you’ll see that this is the last verse in what looks something like a poem. Eight couplets, each starting with a benediction and ending with a promise. And we’re finally at the last one, sort of. Yes, this is the last verse in the “poem,” but this isn’t really the end.

For starters, those who are persecuted for righteousness have to share their promise with the poor in spirit. Before you get to grumbling about sharing presents, I think we should realize that those who are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake are already poor in spirit, if they’re doing it the way that Jesus says we should. So, in a way, the this “last” beatitude is the first beatitude, didn’t Jesus say something about the last being first once?

Second, even though the poem ends here, the next verse is another beatitude... and not just another beatitude, but an expansion of this one. Jesus uses this beatitude to transition into the rest of his sermon. That’s right! After a whole summer of studying these eight verses, we’re still only at the beginning of Jesus’ lesson for us. You should read it, it’s one of the most beautiful, compelling writings in human history, and it’ll change your life if you let it.

As you read it you’ll realize pretty quick though that much of what he challenges isn’t going to be possible for you, or for me, or for anyone, not right away, not anytime soon. When you reach this point, I hope you remember this summer and all the beatitudes which hold the key. All of these things are out of our grasp, and we won’t be able to do it without God, and he gave us the beatitudes to guide us through. He challenges us with humility and mercy and the pursuit of righteousness, and it’s with these tools, with these aptitudes, that we can try to be like Christ, and do what he asks us to try. This isn’t the end; we haven’t arrived yet, this is the beautiful beginning.