“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…” This verse begins the more lengthy explanation Jesus gives to each of the teaching points He had just shared in Matthew 5:3-10. He started with the ending and then over the next few chapters Jesus filled out more of what it all means to be blessed.
Being blessed comes down to living life right, not just in actions like the law put forth in the Old Testament, but also in our innermost being where our thoughts are. Jesus is holistic; He desires all of me; all of you. Our wisdom grows as we take in and live out what Jesus teaches and He is good to spell out the plan in detail. I encourage you to take the time to read through Matthew 5-7 in one sitting and if you can, go outside with your Bible and pretend you are on a mountainside. See if you do not respond with amazement and astonishment like the crowds did when they first heard this good news message. Live blessed!
When you get to the pivotal verse of Jesus’ message (the last verse of chapter 5), you will read in most Bibles the word “perfect” to describe both God and how we are to be. Here are my two favorite translations for that verse, for they help to better communicate what Jesus taught. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” That one is from The Message, and the next one from the Amplified Bible also gives good clarification: “You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” For those who choose to live by Jesus’ teachings there is great reward coming.
P.S. After a very winding drive I had the pleasure to read portions of Jesus’ sermon from the top of one of Colorado’s highest mountains, Pikes Peak, September, 2014. The high elevation made the air cold so I was very content with the evening sun warming me through the windows of the rental car and Jesus’ teachings warming my heart to press on in blessedness.