Speaker: Jerry Cisar
How does Christmas call us to live? Our King was born; light has come; a new day is dawning. What does this mean for how we live this world? How does the kingdom that came from heaven “conquer” the kingdoms of this world?
The Beatitudes, which simply means “the blessings,” each begin with “blessed are …”. Jesus’ audience would have immediately recognized this as being from the wisdom tradition. Some more well-known examples are Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked….” Other references include Psalm 2:12b (“Blessed are all who trust in him (the Son)”) and Psalm 41:1 (“Blessed is the one who is understanding toward the poor; in the evil day the Lord will deliver him”).
The point of this pronouncement of “blessing” is to motivate behavior. In other words, the Beatitudes are a call to action. Blessedness is this promised condition (God’s favor and presence) that motivates a disciple’s behavior. The Beatitudes introduce what it means to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, or justice. Put another way, they answer the question, “How does Christmas (the birth of our King) call us to live?”