Yesterday, we read about the birth of Jesus. Jesus, God the Son, has come into the world. Today, we begin to see what kind of a kingdom this King is going to bring.

Many have called this kingdom the upside-down kingdom. Consider this list of the world’s beatitudes1.

  • Blessed are the self-confident, for they rule the world.
  • Blessed are the positive-thinkers, for their dreams come true.
  • Blessed are the assertive, for they get what they want.
  • Blessed are those who define good for themselves, for they won’t be bothered by what others think.
  • Blessed are the strong, for they will be respected.
  • Blessed are the pleasure-seekers, for they are the life of the party.
  • Blessed are those who hate conflict, for they don’t cause a fuss.
  • Blessed are those who conquer their enemies, for the victors write the history books.
  • Blessed are the popular, for their reward the world lies at their feet.

Now, consider what Jesus blesses.

  • Blessed are the poor …
  • Blessed are those who mourn …
  • Blessed are the meek …

What is Jesus getting at? Do these blessings even make sense?

To really understand the blessings of Jesus one has to understand the nature of faith in Jesus. The gateway to the blessings of Jesus is that we admit that before Jesus we are poor. We bring nothing to the table. The only way to come to Jesus is to confess our spiritual poverty, and our need for His grace.

I hope that today’s reading helps you to see that the teaching of Jesus isn’t just good words. We have to realize that Jesus’ teaching is truly radical. He is instituting a kingdom unlike any kingdom ever seen. The way into His kingdom is not by earning our way. There is no way to earn one’s place in the kingdom. There is no way to prove that we belong in the kingdom. The only way into the kingdom of Jesus is to confess that we have no right to come, nor anything to offer, except faith that Jesus provides all the righteousness to satisfy our weary soul (Matthew 5:6).

We will understand the gospel well as we continue to read if we will remember this upside-down nature of the kingdom of Jesus.

  1. Based loosely on lists by Josh Harris and Ray Ortlund.