The cousins John and Jesus are now men; John fulfilled the prophecy to prepare the way for the Lord and Jesus began His ministry by preaching repentance for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Jesus was baptized, was tempted after a forty-day desert fast, chose his twelve apprentices and taught about living life in a way that has meaning. In each of the Gospel accounts Jesus always does what is right. He is brave, smart, compassionate and powerful. He traveled extensively, meeting the needs of people. He healed all kinds of ailments, delivered others from demons, and returned sight and hearing to people who lacked these senses. He fed the masses and modeled the way to connect with His Father.
Now the time had come for Jesus’ first formal and maybe most famous of all His teachings. With a crowd gathered around Him, He went up on a mountain, sat down and taught. And Matthew, one of Jesus’ followers, recorded the sermon so all who later would read it would have the opportunity to be blessed. “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Whole books can be written about the meaning of this first “blessed” alone. Jesus could have stopped right here with this first teaching point and given a lifetime to ponder it, could we really know the implications of being poor in spirit and how that is a blessing, not to mention what it means to have the Kingdom of Heaven?
We are blessed when we realize we do not yet have all we can have when it comes to living in God’s Spirit, and so we eagerly press into God. We will see the phrase, “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” again. The first and also the final of those mountain top blessings bookend all the blessings in between. If you want to go a little deeper in your study of Jesus’ teachings of how to live the blessed life, look up the daily verse in a different translation and read Matthew 5 in its entirety each day. Time spent with Jesus is blessed time indeed.