Monday, November 25, 2013

Sermon on Luke 23:27-43, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, "Remember me"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. As we heard Luke’s account of Jesus’ death on the cross, I’m struck by the deep and powerful mystery of it. The sheer otherworldliness of Jesus’ love, and yet the deep humanity of His suffering. It commands our attention and can’t help but leave us changed, even at the mere retelling of it. The multitude of people who originally saw these events also could not help but be affected by it. Some began the day hating and scorning Jesus, but ended it in remorse and distress (23:48), and in some cases even repentance—most notably in the criminal who turned in the end to Jesus. Others only amped up their ridicule and rejection of Him. So like magnets, people were either drawn to Him, or repulsed by Him. And that day did not finish without much deep searching of hearts—even if many still did not receive Him. May we all, with heartfelt repentance like the criminal on the cross, confess our guilt and our emptiness of anything good to bring to Jesus, and then pray with him, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”
If you could imagine yourself in Jesus’ place, you will no doubt realize that none of us would act like Him in His forsaken death on the cross. We’d have thought, “Are those humans really worth all this pain and trouble?” And even if we’d have gone ahead with it, wouldn’t we expect some pity and sympathy? So at least we could play the victim? But Jesus, so far from selfishness, from reluctance to help, from self-pity—even turns the laments of the women away from Himself, and toward themselves. It’s not mock modesty, to play the noble martyr, but genuine sadness over what they’ll soon face. He felt compassion and pity for them, even when He was in the midst of the most pitiable circumstances.
This utterly divine, completely other-worldly behavior of Jesus had to be what left that criminal on the cross completely undone. We know nothing of the criminal’s life, except that it must have been a major crime for him to get crucified. But whatever drove his life before, he’d never seen anything like Jesus’ response to the taunts, the torments, the cruelties and abandonment. The environment was ripe for hatred, bitterness, and despair. Yet here was someone whom displayed nothing but clear and transparent innocence. Not a hint of hatred, revenge, or self-pity that surely would have marked any normal person who had been unjustly condemned, but innocent. No begging for His life. No curses or sharp words.
But neither was Jesus cold and mechanical, enduring the suffering without pain or emotion. It was very real, and very human. He cried out in distress; but His cry was turned to God—not for vengeance, but forgiveness. His thirst, His agony, His bleeding were all painfully real. And yet louder than the jarring sounds of suffering and death, were Jesus’ words of love. No hatred could extinguish Jesus’ love. And who could He be, but God’s true and only Son, the True King who taught of His coming kingdom?
Had this criminal ever caught wind of Jesus’ teachings? Had he heard of the man who taught people to love their enemies, to forgive without keeping record, and to turn the other cheek? Whether or not, it would be one thing to hear Jesus teach about these things—and yet an overwhelmingly powerful sight to see LOVE lived out in the most graphic way, under the worst of circumstances. The criminal was completely undone. A life of crime, a life of selfishness, or a life ruled by power, violence, the dog-eat-dog world he knew, all just came unraveled before his eyes. An old life of sin was shattered and broken. Sin was paying out its penalty in death.
Perhaps our own life does not parallel the life of crime of this man who died with Jesus; but do we need a cross to open our eyes to the total bankruptcy of this sinful world and our own sinful ways? Is it only by the hardest lessons that we can learn that selfishness, violence, or the dog-eat-dog world pay back nothing but sorrow, grief, and death? One thing is for sure, that whatever the shape of our own sinful life is—whatever sinful desires, whatever false dreams hold us captive, that old life of sin must be shattered and broken. It must die the death of repentance, as in baptism we are crucified with Jesus Christ. When we examine our life in the light of God’s truth and the perfection of Jesus’ love, we too come undone. How will we escape the dues of sin, paying themselves out in death? Our eyes turn to Jesus.
Suspended next to two criminals, Jesus was paying out the penalty of death, though remarkably, Jesus was clearly innocent. Even if these few hours of watching Jesus’ life were all that criminal knew, it spoke volumes of the infinitely superior life that Jesus lived and possessed. At first, both criminals had joined the hateful men in pouring out ridicule on Jesus—shouting for His perfect life to end in ruin. And all of a sudden this one criminal couldn’t bear it anymore, and he confessed his own guilt and sin, he rebuked his fellow, saying “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” In other words, we’re getting what we deserve, and you can’t see that he’s innocent?
Then with words that revealed the new life of the Holy Spirit already growing in him, he turned to Jesus and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Here was a king he would worship and serve. Here was a king with true goodness to offer, unlike any scheming politician, any revolutionary, any Caesar, governor, or worldly leader could offer. Here was a king like this criminal had never seen. What would he now give to be a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom? What could he give? Nothing of worth, but only his own sin and death. And yet here was Jesus, his newfound King, offering His own innocence and death, as the price for our citizenship in His kingdom. Jesus was dying to bring us into His kingdom, and this reborn criminal asked only that Jesus remember him when He come into His kingdom.
We’ve memorialized those words in our liturgy, with the phrase, “Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray.... ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom Come...’” We too are sinners under the same condemnation of death. We too have nothing worthy to offer to become a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom. But He has paid every price of citizenship, of admission, He has made us the blood-bought children of His kingdom. And we pray “remember us in your kingdom” because by His grace and mercy, we’re in that kingdom. We’re under the just and righteous rule of the God who so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. Even a criminal on a cross. Even a sinner like me, like you. Jesus has a place for you in His kingdom, and far from His perfect life being brought to ruin and shame, Jesus’ death completed the perfect life for us. And His rising from His grave showed that the powers of death, of hatred, of violence, are powerless against God’s love and truth.
And this prayer is an answered prayer: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus never despises this prayer. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:17). God remembers you. Jesus remembers that criminal who turned to Him in the last hour. Jesus remembers those who call on Him for help. His kingdom is open to all the broken in spirit, all who’ve seen a life driven by sin unravel and come undone, and who plead to Jesus for His forgiveness, for His goodness and His life. And thanks be to God, we have received such forgiveness, not on our deathbeds, but with a life ahead of us to live. With Christ’s own love pouring into our sin-broken hearts, with forgiveness in His body broken, and His blood shed on the cross.
Thanks be to God that Jesus’ kingdom began invading this broken and sin-corrupt world 2,000 years ago, and that it continues to invade hearts and lives by the mercy and love of Jesus’ Christ. Thanks be to God that He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. Thanks be to God that His kingdom is among us too, and Jesus takes us up as His hands and feet to work that love in the lives of our neighbors and community. Thanks be to God that our sins and failures are continually drowned in baptism at His cross, and that Christ is daily raising you up as a new son or daughter to live before Him in righteousness and purity forever. Thanks be to God that the growth and success of His kingdom does not depend on our frail and uncertain humanity, but on the otherworldly, but purely human life and love of Jesus Christ. In Him we place all our confidence. In Him we secure all our hopes for this life and for the life to come. And for the day of our death, we await His blessed promise, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sermon Talking Points
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  1. Luke’s gospel is unique in its frequent mention of the women disciples of Jesus, and their faithfulness to Him. Why did Jesus redirect their grief and lamentation over Him, to themselves and their children? What fearful days lay ahead for Jerusalem? Luke 21:20-24. Why would the barren be blessed in those days?

  1. What did Jesus mean in v. 31 by “for if they do these things…”? How were things in Jerusalem and Israel changing for the worse? 

  1. How are the events described in Luke 23:33-37 the fulfillment of OT prophecy? Isaiah 53:12; Psalm 22:7-8, 12-13, 16-18; Psalm 69:21.

  1. Why were Jesus’ words of forgiveness, spoken from the cross, so powerful? Matthew 5:43-48; 18:21-22. How was the mockery of Jesus an echo of the devil’s own words? Luke 4:3, 9.

  1. The sign over Jesus’ head bore the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”—which in Latin gives the initials “INRI” that is often seen on crucifixes or Christian artwork. How do the themes of mockery of Jesus’ kingship, and His true display of kingship converge at the cross?

  1. How did the criminal next to Jesus finally come to acknowledge Jesus’ kingship? How did he lay down his guilt before God’s righteous judgment? What was his appeal for mercy to Jesus? How do we find ourselves in the same position, both with regard to deserved guilt, and also in humble expectation of mercy?

  1. How will the appearance of Jesus’ kingdom and power change at His second coming? How is His return cause for rejoicing? Luke 21:28

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sermon on Luke 21:5-8, for the 26th Sunday after Pentecost, "The King of Our Redemption"

Sermon Outline:
·         Today is the 2nd last Sunday of the church year, before we start the new church year with the season of Advent. At the end of the church year, and beginning of the next, themes turn to the final judgment, the end of time, and Jesus’ return. Jesus teaches in the Gospel reading about the signs of the end. And they’re not pretty. There’s the total destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the coming of false christs and false prophets, wars, natural disasters, persecution for the faith, the siege of Jerusalem, death, slavery, signs in the heavens and people fainting with fear for the things that are coming on the world.
·         Did Jesus paint such a frightening picture, to terrify us and put fear in our hearts? One might wonder, at first glance. But upon closer examination, Jesus says precisely, “When you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” Do not be terrified. He instills courage instead of fear. Then at the end of the passage, He describes two dramatically different reactions to the same event. The first reaction is of fear and dread, of people fainting with fear for what is coming on the world. But Jesus calls us to a second reaction: “now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
·         It’s almost startling to think that Jesus wants us to be unafraid when such dreadful things happen. But clearly Jesus is showing us that He does not intend to create fear but rather to warn and prepare us, so that we may face these things with confidence. How can that be, with such dreadful things to come? Isn’t fear a natural response to such things? Isn’t it necessary for our safety and protection? But against these dangers, there is only One sure refuge. There is only One who can protect us through all these dangers ahead, and who therefore can instill in us courage in the face of the end times. The source of our Christian confidence is none other than Jesus. He alone lifts up our heads to see His redemption brings. He alone dispels all our fears by the comfort of His Word and the presence of His Spirit. It is His kingdom that is coming, and these signs all come first. He calls us to stand tall as our redemption nears.
·         Notice that up through verse 24, the signs are almost all referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened in 69/70 AD, some 30-35 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Most of those signs have already been fulfilled. And this is remarkable confirmation of Jesus’ words in itself. Yet some signs still appear today—like the appearance of false teachers and false christs, who come to lead people astray, or the presence of persecution against the church. And as each sign unfolds, everything is shaken; the Temple is toppled to its foundation, people are led astray, nations are shaken by wars and conflicts, the earth is shaken with earthquakes, famines, and natural disasters. Christians are shaken in their families as they face persecution, arrest, betrayal, and trial, just as Jesus did. The city of Jerusalem, the sea, and even the powers of the heavens are shaken. In short, every heavenly or earthly thing that seemed stable, safe, or secure, is shaken and rattled to its core. No human fortress and no earthly stronghold stands firm against this shaking and war. Nothing on earth proves worthy of our ultimate trust and security. But on the heels of even the powers of heaven being shaken, the Son of Man comes in a cloud with power and great glory.
·         Jesus arrives in the midst of a scene where we have no hope and cannot find any foothold, and He ushers in His kingdom that has no end. As the book of Hebrews tells us, God has promised that “‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:26-29). Everything will be shaken, and removed. The heavens and the earth will pass away—as solid and enduring as they may seem, they too will be shaken and destroyed.
·         But let us be grateful that we have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. This kingdom that the OT promises will never be destroyed, and shall stand forever (Dan. 2:44). Jesus is the Forever-King of this unshakeable kingdom, and He comes to defeat His enemies and bring redemption to His people. We take heart because He is greater than any of the fearful things that befall us on earth. He stands unchanged and immovable, against the changes and disasters of time.
·         We worship Him for His power and His glory—we worship Him with reverence and awe, because He is a consuming fire. God has a great and awesome power—yet He uses it for our rescue, our redemption, our good. But first the church must endure great hardship and difficulty. But even through this, He promises to be with us, to give us the words and wisdom to speak for Him, and that through it all, by our endurance, we will gain our lives. Just like Jesus, the way toward glory went first through the cross. Jesus gained this kingdom not by military might, or by wielding a sword on the battlefield, but by going to the cross. He gained it by humble self-sacrifice, and a death that seemed all but defeat for His kingdom. But by conquering sin and death through His innocent blood, and by rising from the grave to new life, He sealed the victory for His kingdom. For Jesus, and for believers in His kingdom, glory comes only through the cross.
·         So when you see signs of the end; when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, when false teachers and false teachings abound, and sin seems to have its day of triumph as the world slowly decays, don’t hang your heads in gloom and despair, don’t cower in fear and be terrified. Straighten up! Raise your heads! Because your redemption is drawing near! We have nothing to fear with Christ as the king of our unshakable kingdom.
·         Do we longing for the kingdom? Do we live in expectation, rejoicing and standing tall at Jesus’ coming? Or are we clinging to a world that is passing away? Are we trapped in fear? The way we answer those questions depends on whether our trust and confidence is in Christ alone, or whether we’re hoping for security in the passing things of this world. But only Christ and His kingdom can endure.
·         Does Christ come to bring fear, or comfort? For the believer, it is obviously comfort. His is the steady arm of the Savior, reaching out to rescue us in the terrible storm. His is the Light of the world coming down into our darkness, and stilling our fears. He is the Almighty King coming with the dawn of the morning, His light triumphantly breaking in on the darkness of this world. When the collapse of our disordered and faltering world seems imminent, Jesus Christ will come into the chaos and bring redemption, rescue for His people. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!” (Luke 12:32).

Sermon Talking Points
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  1. In Luke 21, Jesus recounts signs of the end of times, but also in the nearer future (for Jesus’ original audience) He foretells the destruction of Jerusalem in 69/70 AD. This event would be so terrible that many people would think that the end of times had already come. Though the disciples took great pride in the grandeur of the Temple, this was the central feature of the city that would be destroyed down to its very foundation. Why did God allow the Temple to be destroyed? What would be the new center for worship, for believers in the True God? John 4:20-25

  1. What other types of signs would mark the end of times? Cf. Matthew 24. What might you conclude is the reason why most of these signs have been present throughout history since Jesus’ ascended to heaven? Matthew 25:13; Luke 21:31-36.

  1. How can there be such a sharp contrast in the way that people react to the same event, of Jesus’ return/the end of times? (see description in Luke 21:26-28). What is the difference in whom they have trusted? Why should the Christian be filled with confidence as the Day approaches? Romans 8:18-25; 13:11.

  1. While many of the signs in Luke 21 were fulfilled historically in the destruction of Jerusalem, which signs are still evident in our day? How does Jesus promise to help those who are persecuted for His name? What is His purpose for them facing persecution? Luke 21:13-15. What losses may they face? What rewards lie in store? Luke 21:16-18; Matthew 5:12

  1. After everything that seemed strong and solid is destroyed or shaken—even the powers of the heavens—what remains firm and unshaken? See Isaiah 34:4; 2 Peter 3:10-12 for the destruction of the universe. See Hebrews 12:26-29; Psalm 46; 1 Peter 1:25; Matthew 16:18; Isaiah 9:7; Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14 for what cannot be shaken. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12, for All Saints' Day, "Blessed are..."

Sermon Outline:
·         The Beatitudes—describes the highest blessing, each begin with “blessed are…” Observations—place and role in the Gospel: opening words of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, perhaps most famous, after the Lord’s Prayer. Addressed to Jesus’ disciples. Kingdom of heaven—is not just a future reality, but present-future. Tension between the now and not yet. (epistle: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared” 1 John 3:2). Sense of being, but still becoming something greater. Jesus in early chs of Matthew is the King of this kingdom of heaven, created through His teaching. Visit of wise men, gifts for king, John’s preaching: “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”, and then Jesus preaching the same, preceding opening of Sermon on the Mount, and Beatitudes.
·         9 Beatitudes. Simple structure: Blessed are_____, and why are they blessed. 1st & 8th form bookends around the first 8. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Only repeated blessing, and the only one in present tense—theirs is. All other blessings are future tensethey shall… What does this mean? Present and future aspects of kingdom of heaven. Here now, and ours in Christ Jesus, but many blessings are yet to come. Show what life is like for followers of Jesus in the kingdom now, and what the future reality will be like, especially how they stand before God. One more note: first 8 are “they” (3rd person), the 9th, concluding one switches to “blessed are you”—driving home the point that these beatitudes are spoken to the church, to the believers in Jesus.
·         Purpose? Is it the “program” for us to follow to build the kingdom of heaven? List of moral goals to shoot for? If so, progress hangs on us. If so, failure to reach these high expectations means watching the kingdom slipping away from us. Test: who here is pure in heart? “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Furthermore, the beatitudes about persecution are not something we can seek out for ourselves, but they come upon us. No, this view won’t work—the coming of the kingdom can’t hang on us; our attaining this perfection.
·         Rather, as Jesus had said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The kingdom of heaven hangs on Jesus Christ. He creates it by preaching His Word. We are the recipients of that word and that blessing. So what are these descriptions, and how do they come to apply to us believers?
·         You know how people complain about someone looking at the world through “rose-colored glasses?” Well, the Beatitudes are far from that. They don’t picture a rosy sort of life, but rather that the believer may even face more than their share of difficulty. The Beatitudes, though, are Christ-colored glasses, through which the believer sees their own life in the world in light of Jesus Christ and who He is, and what He has done for us. So put on those Christ-colored glasses and view the kingdom of heaven from Jesus’ perspective.
·         Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Poor in spirit doesn’t mean weak in faith, or running short of the Holy Spirit, but rather means having a humble and sorry heart. That we are not proud, vain, or arrogant. This is the life of Jesus. He was humble and not self-promoting. He assumed our poor and lowly condition as humans, and most fully in His death, so by His poverty, He could make us rich—not in material wealth, but the blessings of His kingdom. He pours out humility in spirit upon believers, and our present blessing is that we belong to this kingdom of heaven.
·         Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. There are many things that cause us to mourn—losses, death, loneliness. Jesus experienced all these, and more, and mourned for His friend Lazarus who died; mourned for His people Israel who rejected Him; mourned for their blindness as they hung Him on the cross to die as a criminal, even while He was saving them in this very act. Jesus pours out His blessing and His comfort on all believers who mourn, because in Him we have the future hope of eternal life. A hope that overcomes our tears and brings us joy once again. Yet even now He sends His Holy Spirit, the Comforter upon us in all times of fear, loneliness, or loss.
·         Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. When Jesus said “take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” He identified Himself with the meek. The world looks upon this as weakness, but the weakness of God is stronger than men. Jesus was gentle and patient, and so He desires us to be as well. He grants the earth to the meek—though men lay claim to it by power and war.
·         Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Jesus longed for the justice of God to be revealed. He longed to fulfill all righteousness and do the will of the Father—and He succeeded. The righteousness the believer hungers and longs for is that righteousness we spoke of last week—the spiritual righteousness given to us by faith in Jesus. It’s God’s gifted righteousness that satisfies our longing, our need to be right with God. A righteousness that we can’t supply, but that God pours out in full measure through Jesus’ death on the cross.
·         Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Mercy is a fitting description of all Jesus’ life, as He healed and cared for the sick, the outcast, the forgotten and the lost. God is rich in mercy toward us, by forgiving us all our sins, and He pours that mercy into our lives as well, so we can be merciful to others. God’s intention in forgiving our massive debt of sin before Him, is that we would become agents of His mercy, carrying it toward others.
·         Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. This also requires little explanation, as the perfect description of Jesus. Pure and honorable in heart, He was divided by no false motives, no greedy or lustful intents, but only to carry out the will and teach the word of His Father. Pureness of heart is not something we can produce in ourselves, but as our reading from 1 John 3:3 says, “everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” Putting our hope and trust in Jesus is how we are purified—as the OT says, God gives us a new heart of flesh, and cleanses us for Himself. God grants us this purity of heart by Jesus Christ, so that one day in heaven, we may see God. What a sight and what a day!
·         Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Jesus’ use of the word peace would take us beyond the scope of this sermon, but He promised that He did not come to bring a worldly peace, but gives peace unlike the peace this world knows. And He spoke that peace to His disciples as He gave them authority to spread the word of His forgiveness. Just as Jesus calls us to be agents of His mercy, He also calls us to be agents of His reconciliation, so that we go into the world with Jesus’ own message of forgiveness, and the power of His Word to repair lives and heal wounds and relationships, by making peace with one another. This is such a difficult and honorable work that Jesus calls such peacemakers, “sons of God.”
·          “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Here, with the 8th and 9th, you could say it becomes personal. It turns from blessed are those to blessed are you. And nowhere is the life of the believer so closely tied to and identified with Jesus as in persecution. When we share in the righteous sufferings of Jesus—suffering not for the wrong we have done, but for the good  which Christ has done, and we are in His service—then we are most greatly blessed. Persecution is the ultimate example of the believer bearing their cross and following Christ.
·         And when we see our own lives through these Christ-colored glasses, we see a picture of the kingdom of heaven—already here, but not yet revealed in its full glory. In fact, so far from the appearance of glory, the believer sees that right now, our life in the kingdom of heaven is humble, scorned, and oppressed by the world. And yet hidden beneath this is the promise of God’s greatest blessing, for those who follow Jesus. The world will never “get” the shape of Christ’s kingdom, which is so contrary to everything the world seeks after and glories in. But the believer who hears the Beatitudes sees their own life hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3), and realizes that the trials and sufferings we endure now do not mean God’s promise has failed. Rather, His promise is true—even in preparing us for these crosses—and His blessing is already stretching from the future to grasp our hands and hearts now. And for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, He spreads before us a meal of the true body and blood of Jesus, that satisfies us for the forgiveness of our sins, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sermon Talking Points
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Listen to audio at:

  1. Who was Jesus addressing with the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:1-12? “[The Beatitudes] are descriptions both of Jesus and of those who have been joined by Jesus’ Father to His kingdom” –David Scaer
  2. How are the marks of believers contrary to those things the world values or praises? How is one “poor in spirit?” Psalm 51:17; 34:17-18; Isaiah 61:1ff(!) How are these qualities true of Jesus also? Matthew 11:29; 2 Corinthians 8:9. How does Jesus bring these blessings to those whom He describes? Isaiah 61:1ff.
  3. How did Jesus mourn? Isaiah 53:3-4; John 11:35; Matthew 9:36; 23:37. For what reason do Christians mourn? How is their mourning different from the mourning of unbelievers? 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. How are they comforted? Psalm 126:6
  4. How is Jesus meek? Matthew 11:29. What kind of “righteousness” did Jesus hunger and thirst for? Isaiah 61:8-11; Matthew 6:33; 12:20; Romans 3:21-26. How does our soul hunger or thirst for relationship with God? Psalm 42:1-2; 84:2; 107:9; 119:20, 40, 81-82, 123, 131, 174. How is that hunger filled in Christ Jesus? Romans 3:21-26
  5. How does Christ show mercy, and how are we to as well? Matthew 18:15-35; 9:27; 15:27; 17:5. How do we receive mercy from God? From others in the community of believers?
  6. How can we be pure in heart? cf. Proverbs 20:9; Ezekiel 36:25-28. How will we be able to see God? 1 John 3:2-3; Revelation 22:3-5.
  7. What kind of peace did Jesus bring? Isaiah 9:5-6; John 14:27; 16:33. What kind did He not bring? Matthew 10:34. How is the believer one with Jesus Christ in enduring persecution? How are we blessed in this?