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Are We Beatitude People?

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

 

I’m not sure how it happened, exactly, but somehow Christians today seem to have completely misunderstood the Gospel of Jesus. When they hear that an off-color British comedian has endorsed the way of Jesus and has encouraged everyone to take Christ more seriously, their response is to say, “He’s a hater of God!” and “If he’s not coming from a Christian perspective, why do we want to listen to him?”

Instead of rejoicing that this foul-mouthed comedic actor has openly endorsed the message of Christ, they can only find fault with him because of his past actions and statements.

What about mercy? What about grace?

It makes you wonder how these same Christians would have reacted to an anti-Christian terrorist like Saul of Tarsus when he suddenly changed his tune and started preaching the Gospel. “He’s a hater of God!” “Why do we want to listen to him?”

If we believe we have nothing to learn from those who are outside of our tribe, then we have failed already. Jesus was always going outside of his tribe, outside of his community, outside of his comfort zone.

That’s the real problem, I think. We are so unlike Jesus.

A friend shared a quote from Tertullian today that reminded me that, in his day, the whole Roman world was saying of the Christians “Look how they love one another!” Yet, today, no one marvels at our great love. Not only do we not love one another very well, we don’t love anyone else very well, either.

All of this led me back to the Gospels again. I re-read the Sermon on the Mount and was re-inspired by the powerful, radical love of Jesus calling us to an uncommon love that wasn’t just for those who love us in return, but also was extended outward to those who don’t love us, or agree with us, at all.

This reminded me of a wonderful phrase that I found in N.T. Wright’s latest book where he says:

“…the Gospels give to those who read them the energy and the sense of direction to be Beatitude people for the world, knowing that the victory was indeed won on the cross, that Jesus is indeed already installed as the world’s rightful ruler, and that His way of peace and reconciliation has been shown to be more powerful than all the powers of the world.” – N.T. Wright, “The Day The Revolution Began”, pg. 225

I long for us to become Beatitude People for the world again; to know that Jesus’ way of peace and reconciliation really is more powerful, and more compelling, than anything else in this world.

What about you? Are you ready to join the Beatitude People who dare to leave their comfort zones and put the words of Jesus into practice?

Either way, count me in.

-kg

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the Amazon Best-Seller “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb,” available in print, Kindle and audiobook versions. He lives in Orange, California with his wife and two sons.

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  • Paul

    Beatitude people are “blessed.” The Aramaic word that corresponds with the Greek word has a broader meaning than “happy” or “favored.” It means ripe, ripening, developing, something that is reaching its potential, or, generically, maturing. I wrote new meanings for the beatitudes based on the Aramaic version in one of my books. Basically, we are growing and developing in the spirit when we have reached the point of doing what the Beatitudes teach. The other wordings and phrasings have much greater meaning when coming from the Aramaic as well.

  • http://paulwheeler.com Paul Wheeler

    I’d love to read that Aramaic version of the Beatitudes you mention Paul, that sounds really interesting!

  • Paul

    Paul – check it out here – http://amzn.to/2jeh5Zt

  • http://anncar.com blogcom

    The Beatitudes describe the coming of God’s kingdom to earth- my kingdom is not of this world he said- and has nothing to do with the Gospel.
    It’s not possible for the world to apply these principles when its values are diametrically opposed and those who think they can are for the most part either naïve ideologues or ignorant.

  • Snooterpoot

    So, please share with us the other things that Jesus said that don’t apply now.

  • Bernard Dainton

    I did quite a lot of work on the Beatitudes for a sermon series I preached shortly before I left a previous church, which included trying to express “makarios” (blessed) more effectively in modern day language. These are two versions I came up with:-

    Quite colloquial

    “Those who are poor in spirit are lucky,
    Because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them
    Those who mourn are the lucky ones
    Because God will comfort them
    Those who are meek are the lucky ones
    Because the land is their inheritance
    Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are the lucky ones
    Because God will satisfy them
    Those who are merciful are the lucky ones
    Because God will have mercy on them
    Those who are pure in heart are the lucky ones
    Because they will see God
    Those who make peace are the lucky ones
    Because God will call them his children
    Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are the lucky ones
    Because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them
    You are lucky when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
    Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    and slightly more formal:

    “How favoured are those who are poor in spirit!
    Because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
    How favoured are those mourn!
    Because God will comfort them.
    How favoured are those who are meek!
    Because the land is their inheritance.
    How favoured are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness!
    Because God will satisfy them.
    How favoured are those who are merciful!
    Because God will have mercy on them.
    How favoured are those who are pure in heart!
    Because they will see God.
    How favoured are those who make peace!
    Because God will call them his children.
    How favoured are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake!
    Because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
    How favoured are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account!
    Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

    What do readers think?