“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
A paradox is the combining of two seemingly opposite statements. Like: Wise Fool; Bittersweet; Deep down; If you didn’t get this message, call me.
These are statements that seem to contradict or challenge one another, yet Jesus used them all the time. Love enemies, be thirsty to be satisfied, get low to be exalted.
You may wonder why Jesus uses paradoxical language. Why does Jesus make me love my enemies? How can I be humble to be exalted?
The reason Jesus’ sermon seems paradoxical or opposite is because they are opposite to us, but ordinary to Him. A poor rich man is not a paradox to Jesus. It is only a paradox to us, because an unbeliever’s life is opposite Jesus’ life.
Even more awesome is that the life of Jesus is opposite because it surpasses ordinary. His power goes beyond ordinary. We cannot live the life of the flesh as a Christian, because it is not fit for His life. It is not worthy of His life. Our life pales in comparison to His.
The words of Jesus have to be different, because our words do not fit His world. He has a heavenly language. And living what Jesus spoke takes heavenly power that is preeminent.
Jesus wants you to become poor so He can make you rich, because you can only get so rich on your own. The riches of Jesus far surpass your most successful endeavor.
Jesus wants you to become humble and submissive so He can exalt you, because you can only be so powerful and popular. The power Christ gives far surpasses even the President of the United States.
The life of Jesus seems to be a paradox, but it is preeminent. It is vital that you take time this week to let these passages sink in for the sake of you, others, and the glory of God. What Jesus says is superior, but also extremely practical to every part of your life.
Use the HEAR method as you spend time with today’s scripture.
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?