Read Matt: 5:1-16
This passage is well known as the beatitudes, the one portion of Jesus’ teaching that people from different backgrounds and even religions regard as more than exceptional, brilliant and an example that every human being should follow.
If we want to get to understand the mind of Christ, how Jesus thought, this is where we should start. Why at this passage? Not because just about everybody thinks it is profound and great, but because this is where Jesus himself started.
That may very well be Jesus’ own summary of his attitude to life, people and his Father in heaven, but isn’t it much too difficult to grasp and to obey?
Except if you turn it upside down and read it from the perspective of someone who lives
in poverty, is persecuted, and is rejected by everybody. Some would say that the only way to understand the beatitudes is to turn it on its head and read it from the viewpoint of a street child in one of the big mega cities like Delhi, Lagos or Johannesburg. Then you will know intuitively what the message is: It is not the powerful, the important people, the manipulators and those who have it all and know how to stand on their rights, those the look from above that will understand the Kingdom, but those who look from below upwards, who will truly understand what it is to receive God’s blessing. This is an upside down theology and an upside down spirituality, but if you learn how to look from the bottom upwards, then the gospel becomes good news and the Kingdom a practical reality. Later on Paul would call this grace.
To be a disciple of Jesus and to show something of his character you will have to begin looking upside down at others and yourself. This is the first step in following Jesus.
Now let’s do it:
- How would your life look like if you turn it upside down? How would your life look like from the position of helplessness, devastation, being a loser, someone who gave up hope for life itself? If you find this exercise difficult, use your imagination and try again.
- What does this passage say about the way you have to look at life if you want to see God’s blessing? You should just about be able to make a list highlighting a key word in every verse.
- Open the ears of your heart. What does the Lord say about your life, your dreams and your plans?
- Do you get the message of the Kingdom as good news from this upside down position yet?