“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles…
“And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people… And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
He went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and 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.'” Matthew 5:1-11; Luke 6:12-13,17,19
There is a wide sense of depth and breadth and height in Jesus’ beatitudes. He climbs a mountain to pray, alone with His Father, and we imagine a myriad of praises, thanksgivings, petitions, bound up in love and expectant dependency. He descends to meet His people, those who follow, those who need, those who absorb His teaching, those who are desperate. Then He ascends again, this time to give out broad and cogent teaching by way of a list of blessings. We are there, as disciples, receiving this fresh rain that soaks into every area of life.
From on high, He lifts His loving, all-knowing eyes on His children, then pronounces His benevolence into the depth of our soul need, the wideness of our hearts’ hunger and pain, the breadth of our relationships. The Son of Man who is acquainted with grief blesses that of His own, promising comfort, fulfillment, mercy, and a heavenly inheritance. He assures that now we are citizens of heaven’s kingdom, and one day will be rewarded there. (Isaiah 53:3-4)
To realize the reach of Christ’s blessings to us is to be thankful beyond expression. To realize that He who sees all things has set His eyes and His affection on us is to fall humbly before His throne in adoration. To recognize the vastness of His love and concern for all that concerns us fills us with unshakeable hope. Would we set aside lesser pursuits to come to the mount and listen to His voice, to sit under His adoring gaze and receive His blessings of promise and favor? What keeps us away, and why is it more important? (1 Chronicles 17:16-18; Psalm 138; Ephesians 1:3,11-14)
My Lord, keep me climbing ever higher to be nearer Thee. Pull me ever closer to feel Your heartbeat and synch with its pulse. May my open arms receive and extend Your wide mercies, and my lips bless others in Your name.