Good News For the Poor
Jesus’ first announces God’s arriving Kingdom is to the down and out. In the opening of his most famous teaching, Jesus tells us God sees injustice and he promises to fix it. This is good news for the poor. The Sermon opens with the beatitudes, a list of nine blessings. While lists of blessings were common in Jewish teaching, Jesus’ list was electrifying. While those who came before said that good fortune was the sign of God’s blessing, Jesus calls the people at the bottom blessed. And rather than announcing the arrival of the kingdom to the rich and powerful, he lets the poor in on the secret first. God, it seems, sees them and is on their side.
Jesus represents God’s presence with people who are excluded from the religious life of their nation. They can’t go to God, but Jesus comes to them with a message of grace and radical inclusion. Their life circumstances aren’t a symbol of God’s displeasure, rather they are a sign of the injustice of the status quo. Jesus promises that God’s coming kingdom will set those injustices right. His words really are good news for the poor.
Questions for Reflection
- Have you ever tried to do the right thing only to have it go badly? How did that make you feel?
- Who are the people you know that are ‘poor in spirit’? What can you do to help them experience Jesus’ kingdom promises?
- Are you feeling uncertainty and fear right now? How might God be using the present situation to draw you closer to himself?
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