We Christians talk about people being blessed (as do many who are not). Usually when we use the word, it seems to be describing someone who is lucky, or maybe happy. But there’s so much more to it than that.
Just look at how Jesus used this word in Matthew 5, and you can quickly see that it does beyond any notion of luck. It’s something much deeper. Something that is such good news for us.
Here’s what Jesus said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. (Matthew 5:3-10, CSB)
We often come to the Beatitudes and see a list of “to-dos”. Be poorer in spirit and humbler. Be purer and mercifulerer. That kind of thing. Or we look at them as different categories of people. That there are some who are humble, some who are merciful and peacemakers, and so on. But that’s not what Jesus said. It’s not what the Scriptures say anywhere. Instead of commands, Jesus gave descriptions of the shared characteristics of those who belong in and to his kingdom.
So who is the person Jesus calls blessed? The person who reaches the end of him or herself. The person who knows they have nothing they can offer him. People who are painfully aware of their own spiritual bankruptcy. Their sinful nature that causes them to rebel against the Lord, and says along with David, “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God” (Psalm 51:17, CSB).
That is who Jesus called blessed. They are people who know they need grace. And, thankfully, it is grace that Jesus freely offers.