Next in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus turned to the reconciliation of people: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). God is a peacemaker. Strife, contention, disagreement—these are not the fruits of the mind of God at work. To be recognized as children of God, we have to practice the ways of God. One of them is peacemaking.
Of course, living in today’s world, we’re often challenged by the opposite spirit, the spirit of animosity and hostility. And that can lead to great pain. But Jesus taught: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” (verse 10). Inevitably in a society gone wrong—one that is running off the tracks—those who are trying to live by godly principles will experience opposition. But returning to the theme of the first blessing, Jesus said the persecuted will obtain “the kingdom of heaven.”
In a postscript, He added that false accusation because of belief in Him shouldn’t stop anyone. It is to be expected in a hostile world, but the result is God’s blessing and a place in His kingdom.
The beatitudes—the blessings—summarize a state of mind that evidences humility, repentance, teachability, righteousness, mercy, pureness, peace, and patience in persecution. All of these characteristics are tied to a godly perspective and an assurance of a right and beneficial relationship with God.
This was just the beginning of Jesus’ discourse. The entire message, though forgotten by most, is strikingly relevant today.
David Hulme covers more of the teachings of Jesus in his book Gospels, available from Vision Media Publishing.