January 22, 2024

Kingdom Blessings

Matthew 5:3-10

The apostles left . . . rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

—  Acts 5:41

More than once in these meditations, I have referred to the way of the kingdom. There’s no definition for it. But in our reading from Matthew 5 today—often called “The Beatitudes”—Jesus names a number of desires, attitudes, and behaviors that are part of the kingdom “way.”

As you read the Beatitudes, imagine the community Jesus describes. It’s a community of people who are humble, meek, and pure-hearted; who mourn over sorrow and pain; who show mercy and make peace—all because they hunger and thirst for what is right.

You would think this kind of community would be inoffensive. That neighbors would be happy to have them around. But Jesus says the community may also be persecuted: hated, insulted, excluded, falsely accused, and more. The sticking point is Jesus himself—and the community’s first loyalty to him. That’s because the world and its kingdoms would rather be first in our lives. So trouble may come to us who live by the way of the kingdom. But blessings come too. There’s comfort to ease our sorrow and pain. Mercy to overcome injustice. Satisfaction in working for changes to do what’s right. There’s also welcome in the household of God—a place to call home, a place to belong. Above all, in the kingdom itself we will see and live with God!

Jesus, thank you for showing us a better “way” and for going ahead of us. What a wonderful hope we have in you: the kingdom of God! Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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