Who Is Blessed?
When Jesus pronounces the promises of God to His people in the Sermon on the Mount, He reveals what it truly means to be blessed by God. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul explores how the Beatitudes of Christ turn the platitudes of this world upside down.
Now notice in these Beatitudes that the message that Jesus is giving in this sermon is kind of a topsy-turvy announcement, where Jesus is turning the platitudes of this world upside down. He doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who rejoice,” but He said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” He doesn’t say, “Blessed are the rich,” but, “Blessed are the poor,” the poor in spirit, the poor in heart. Do you remember Isaiah in the Old Testament, when God called Isaiah not only to pronounce the judgment on the people, but also to predict the end of the calamities, the end of the divine visitation of wrath, the time when God would temper His justice with mercy? And so He says to the prophet, “Say unto the people, ‘Comfort ye; comfort ye My people,’ saith the Lord. ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Say unto her, her warfare is over, for she has received double for her sins.’”
And now this is what Jesus is doing. He is, on this occasion, pronouncing the promise of God to comfort His people. Not to comfort everybody, not to comfort the comfortable, but to comfort the uncomfortable, those who are poor, those who have been to the house of mourning, those people who wear blinders in this world, not to be seduced by the allurements of success and power and fame, but who hunger and thirst after righteousness. And He pronounces His blessing on the pure in heart; and you see, with each one of these pronouncements of divine blessedness, He attaches a promise for the future: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst; they shall be filled. Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called sons of God, children of God. Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Blessed are the poor; they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Do you see how He gives a future promise to each one of these human conditions? And He’s, again, turning the world’s values upside down. Because it’s very difficult for a person to feel blessed when they are poor or to feel blessed when they are mourning, to feel blessed when they are hungry, but particularly difficult is it to feel blessed when you are being reviled, despised, hated, and persecuted.