Once Jesus announces His kingdom is near, once He gives us a glimpse of it through deliverance from demons, miraculous and compassionate healings, awe-inspiring teachings in the synagogues, all showing that the “year of the Lord’s favor” had begun, He went up into a mountain-side and sat down. He took a pause from a ministry that was building a massive following (and this just in Galilee!) and taught about the upside-down kingdom.
The kingdom that would exist (now in hearts, later completely) was not like any other. Check verses 3-12 of Matthew 5. The poor will get it all. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. When do the poor in spirit get to be rich? In God’s kingdom. Those who mourn will be comforted. Mourning is being struck by loss, but in the kingdom Jesus brings, there will no longer be mourning, but the comfort of losses redeemed! Violent, powerful people conquer throughout history. Alexander the Great conquered through great fear and force. Yet, Jesus says the “meek”- the gentle, the kind, get to inherit the earth.
Hunger and thirst has been around forever. What a constant reminder that we are lacking and desperate for nourishment when we thirst and hunger. And Jesus tells us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. Today, nearly a billion people will go to sleep hungry, but every person who enters the kingdom Jesus brings will be satisfied to the full with the righteousness of Jesus.
In a “dog eat dog” world, the merciful are usually the ones wearing Milk-Bone underwear. But Jesus says the merciful will obtain mercy. Kingdom dwellers with Jesus will not have to behave like survivors, being merciless toward any who gets in their way. They get what they need so desperately from mercy-full Jesus. They don’t have to fight for it themselves.
In a world that preaches experiential pleasure at any cost, Jesus says the pure in heart will see God. This world reaches for the next thrill, tease, pleasure, taste of any amusement. Yet, looking into the very face of God, the most brilliant, and even forbidden experience in the Old Testament, is guaranteed for those who seek purity!
Are you getting the idea that this is an upside-down kingdom? It’s a kingdom where God rules. God’s rule of the heart inverts all the stuff we would do if we did not have the love and life of God in us. Knowing Jesus is the beginning of kingdom dwelling.
Why did Jesus take that pause to share these “Beattitudes”? Because He is the King, not just of one people, one place, one position, or one period. He is above all, in all, all in all (Colossians 1:15-21). He is King Jesus, and the kingdom He brings is eternal, irreversible, and capable of flipping you and me completely upside down.
Hey- live different because you belong to Jesus.
Prayer- “Father, Your kingdom come, Your will be done in my life. Flip me upside-down again with the revolutionary power of Jesus through your Holy Spirit in me. May many today see the kingdom of God changing me.”