The Beatitudes: The DNA of Discipleship
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
--Jesus, Matthew 5:9-10
Father, by your Holy Spirit, grant us grace to “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the words of Jesus.
I did not realize how our reflections on the final two Beatitudes would coincide painfully well with Holy Week. This is the week the kingdom of heaven comes to us on earth through the persecution of the righteous Son of God, the ultimate peacemaker:
For Jesus himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:14-18)
Throughout Lent, I’ve pointed to Jesus as the one who fully fleshes out each Beatitude. I have found it particularly meaningful – comforting, compelling, and convicting – to see evidence of this DNA of Discipleship in the days leading up to his crucifixion. I encourage you to set aside a few minutes each day in Holy Week to walk with Jesus, watching for the Beatitudes…
…on Palm Sunday, as he rides astride a donkey into Jerusalem, welcomed triumphantly as the peace-bringing King (Luke 19:28-40).
…on Monday, as he clears the temple of what stands in the way of the true worship of God (Luke 19:41-46; Matthew 21:12-13).
…on Tuesday, as he teaches in the temple about the coming Kingdom (Luke 19:47-21:33); Matthew 22:37-39).
…on Wednesday, as his enemies plot his death while Mary pours oil over his head (Luke 22:1-6; Matthew 26:1-13).
…on Maundy Thursday, when Jesus reveals his love through service, sacrifice, and sacrament, then prays in pain and faithfulness in the garden…and is betrayed (Luke 22:7-65; John 13:1-30).
…on Good Friday, when Jesus is condemned, lashed and humiliated, executed, and entombed (Luke 22:66-23:56a).
…on Holy Saturday, when Jesus descends to the dead as his disciples keep the Sabbath (Luke 23:56b; Peter 3:18-19).
Read the above passages on the appropriate day, noticing the evidence of the Beatitudes in Jesus’ actions and stillness, in his words and silence. And join with us (inviting friends, family, and neighbors) as we join with Jesus in our Holy Week services.
It is in seeing Jesus that we become like him, so I encourage you to make time this week to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Your Pastor in Christ,
P.S. Remember to join us for Compline via Zoom tonight, April 7, after which we will intercede for Ukraine.
Also, many of you received yet another “spoof” email purporting to be from me. Such fraud is frustratingly common. If the sending address is not firstname.lastname@example.org, it is not from me. Additionally, financial/gift card requests will only come through our usual channels -- an official Immanuel email via Mailchimp, Signup Genius, or Realm). Please let me know if you have any further questions.