From the mountain

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One of the speeches of Jesus from a mountain in Israel about 2000 years ago is perhaps the one most talked about. It's the first one recorded in the book of Matthew. Here's how it starts out---
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I've heard people say that Jesus was defining the correct path to God which was much different from what was related by the religious leaders of the day. He was reaching out to the common man, not just the elite.

For one thing, what he was saying was not brand new as some people indicate. Here are things written by Isaiah and King David many years earlier:
From David, "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people."
From Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners..."
Apparently for some reason the religious leaders at that time didn't see his speech as a seamless connection to the older writings.

The main reason I'm bringing up this is that there's something about those words that I'd never noticed before until now. I could be wrong, but they seem to describe the chronological order of the life of a believer in Jesus. One marches through life with all the goodies and doing all the fun things, then realizes he is "poor in spirit" and something is lacking. Either from loneliness or from some hitch in the original plan of material and mental comfort, that person "mourns" with great sadness, sometimes crying alone. He looks for something better and finds that there is indeed something better than Saturday night parties and fancy clothes, a "righteousness for which he hungers and thirsts." He turns to God and finds mercy and becomes "merciful" to his friends who had never really understood his questioning the life of the good times and were never really there when he needed them. His goals in life are different. He lives with different motives a life of working to make the world a better place, as a "peacemaker" in the middle of the every day strife that drags us all down. But he's not accepted because he's different, and his pure life implies that other people are doing wrong. They don't like that at all and "insult and persecute" him. That's when he knows he's reached the top. He knows there's more to come in a different place in the future for him where there awaits a "reward in heaven." This is in contrast to the leaders' lives at that time whose chronology was lots of training and then practicing lots of rituals.

"Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."