This sermon is part of the sermon series "Change of Heart". See series.
Last week we began our study of the Beatitudes: Jesus' intriguing list of people who are blessed and well-off. Suppose we were to come up with a set of Beatitudes for the 21st Century? What if we made a list of the kinds of people who seem to be well-off—who have it made—by today's standards? It might go something like this:
Blessed are the rich and famous, because they can always get a
seat at the best restaurants.
Blessed are the good-looking, for they shall be on the cover of People magazine.
Blessed are those who party, for they know how to have fun.
Blessed are those who take first place in the division, for they
shall have momentum going into the play-offs.
Blessed are the movers and shakers, for they shall make a name
Blessed are those who demand their rights, for they shall not be
Blessed are the healthy and fit, because they don't mind being
seen in a bathing suit.
Blessed are those who make it to the top, because they get to
look down on everyone else.
We wanna be happy.
What's so striking about Jesus' Beatitudes is how contrary they are to the way we view people and the world, both then and now. They are counter-intuitive in that they run in the opposite direction of the way we typically think about things. They are counter-cultural in that they go against the grain of society's norms. Of all the Beatitudes, the one that is perhaps most counter-intuitive and counter-cultural is the second one, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
This Beatitude is counter-intuitive because it seems illogical. It's like saying, "Happy are those who are sad." It doesn't make any sense. Who in their right mind ...
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