Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them (Matthew 5:1-2)
The Sermon on the Mount is widely regarded as the greatest sermon ever given. In his opening to the sermon Jesus lists what have been called the Beatitudes, and most translations begin each Beatitude with Blessed are those who or Happy are those who
Now I dont know about you but the sort of things Jesus lists here seem pretty difficult to achieve or be. It makes me feel in my humanity that I could never live up to this and so how can I truly be blessed or happy?
Perhaps the problem is our understanding of the Greek word that is translated blessed or happy. The word in question is makarios the root of which is makar. This word in Greek myth was used to describe the gods, and so maybe Jesus is pointing in a direction often missed by many translations of the Beatitudes.
In his book, The Ladder of the Beatitudes, Jim Forrest provides this insight:
In classical Greek makar was associated with the immortal gods. Kari means fate or death, but with the negative prefix ma the word means being deathless, no longer subject to fate, a condition both inaccessible and longed for by humans. It was because of their immortality that the gods, the hoi makarioi, were the blessed ones The Greek makar starts life as precisely something which the gods are In Christian use, makarios came to mean sharing in the life of God. (P.20)
This places a whole new perspective on the Beatitudes.
If I, in my frail and weak humanity, try and ultimately fail to be poor in Spirit, to mourn, be meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, and be persecuted for righteousness, then Im not going to be blessed or happy.
There is a different way indicated by Jesus here, and that is to share in the life of God, or as is written in 2 Peter 1:3–4 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature
It was Jesus who perfectly demonstrated what it is to be poor in Spirit, to mourn, be meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, and be persecuted for righteousness.
The only way we can live the life spoken of by Jesus in this sermon is by being united to Him through the Spirit so that we participate in the divine nature, and share in the life of God.
As Jesus lives in us and we participate in that life, the Beatitudes will begin to shine through, and we will be the blessed ones.
Father, thank you that I dont have to rely on my own strength to live the life Jesus outlined, that through the Spirit I can share in your life and be happy and blessed.
Have a blessed and happy week.