By: Dr Eliezer Gonzalez
It often seems like Jesus blesses all the wrong people! We all want to be blessed, don’t we?
But when we think about people who are blessed, we think about people with money, nice cars, a big house, and all the material things. Or perhaps we think of people who are handsome or beautiful, or who are simply healthy. Or even people who seem like they haven’t had to go through loss and broken relationships. They’re the people with the blessings, right? You’d think so. So why did Jesus bless all the wrong people in the Sermon on the Mount?
This was certainly of Christ’s ministry during his time on earth. He blessed all the wrong people by choosing to spend time and be a friend to all those who others thought were the least blessed.
The religious types of his day asked his disciples,
Why does your teacher eat with such scum? (Matt 9:11, NLT);
because Jesus was
a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matt 11:19, NIV);
Jesus not only made a point of associating with the lowest members of society, but he made a point of not only touching them, but letting them touch him! This was unheard of in his culture! By and large, it was the people who were considered to be “unblessed” who were blessed by Jesus.
Who are the “unblessed” today? Might they not be the homeless, the addicts, the sex-workers, the abused and the victimised?
We come back to the question of why it is those who society considers “scum,” the “unblessed,” who are blessed by Christ. Why does Jesus bless all the wrong people? The answer is in the beatitudes themselves.
Jesus came to make all the “wrong people” the right people.
Those whom society and religion often considers to be blessed don’t get the blessings that Jesus offers, because they don’t think that they need them, nor do they really want them. He promises the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:1); who needs that if they’re trying to make their kingdom here on earth? He promises comfort from mourning (v.2); who needs that if you’re pretending to be having fun all the time? He promises the earth as an inheritance (v.3), which is obviously in the future; who wants that if you want it all right now? He promises justice (v.4); who wants that if your lifestyle is built on the exploitation of others? And so, we could continue.
Jesus blesses the poor in spirit, those to mourn, and the meek, because these are the people who understand their need and are open to his blessings. The others aren’t. Like Jesus said in the very next chapter, the self-righteous and those who seek only material blessings in the here and now, already
have received all the reward they will ever get (Matt 6:2, NLT).
How sad for them! Because they did not seek first for the spiritual treasure – the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt 6:33) – they will miss out of what is of true, eternal worth. They miss out on the blessings.
That’s why Jesus apparently blesses all the wrong people. Because in the end, the wrong people, by accepting his blessing, become the right people.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Eliezer has two Master’s degrees in Theology and Early Christian History, and a PhD in Early Christian History.