Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
January 29, 2023
First Reading: Micah 6:1-8
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
Almighty and Everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who loves and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen
Do Justice, and to love Kindness, and to walk humbly with God. (Micah 6-8)
Today our gospel reading is one that many of us grew up loving. We love and find comfort in His words; Blessed means happy or satisfied. Matthew emphasizes the moral teachings, of Jesus.
It is titled the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, I personally like them both. The Beatitudes proclaim that which is true and holy for those who choose to follow Jesus in living in “the kingdom of heaven.”
Last Sunday we talked about how Jesus was starting to gather his disciples. He is now on a mission, God’s mission to teach, heal, and to give us guidelines on how we are to live.
A few verses before in chapter (4:23-25) Jesus has gone throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. He is curing every disease and sickness among all the people. They are bringing him various illness, people with demons, epileptics, and paralytics and He cures them.
This brought great crowds that followed him for Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. Jesus is becoming known especially among the Gentiles.
Like many great prophets, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and Elijah, Jesus went up to a mountain. The scripture says, when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. It was not until he sat down, that his disciples came to him.
Here they are overlooking a beautiful breathtaking view of the area.
A large crowd also followed Jesus and his disciples. Many times, in the scriptures Jesus sits down to give His message.
People during this time were accustomed to sitting on their limbs. Here they are, listening to this message from a great Teacher, respecting the Kingdom of God.
Jesus starts with Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Those that are poor in spirit, realize that nothing they can do can get them into heaven.
They are powerless and helpless, which sounds grim, but they are blessed because Jesus has not forgotten them, and they are promised the kingdom of heaven.
All the beatitudes are to help these people and us to know that there is hope in the world and Blessed are those who recognize their dire need for God, for God will bring them into his Kingdom.
Jesus is saying that this honor, this blessing he speaks of, comes from the only one who can really give honor and blessing, the Lord God Almighty.
These 9 beatitudes, are Jesus offering alternatives, Jesus says there is greater happiness and joy to be had.
He says that there are other ways to become blessed and honorable, and merciful… counts for more than just about anything.
Many years ago, after listening to Jesus, I am sure people walked away and told others about this blessing of God, and because of that, we are blessed.
Back to Micah 6:8,
What does the Lord require of you but to do Justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
The Rev. Lola Culbreath