In the Beatitudes, Jesus declares, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." In the first of two sermons on this Beatitude, we consider the connection between mercy and Jesus' declaration that He came not to call the righteous but sinners.
According to Jesus, happiness is the result of hungering and thirsting for something more important than happiness.
Many of us wonder whether Jesus' teachings actually "work" in real life or whether they're just pie-in-sky, wishful thinking. And in our world where things like aggression and self-promotion are seen as keys to success, perhaps no teaching of His elicits more incredulity than Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." How can this be true?
In a culture in which the pursuit of happiness is seen as an inalienable right, Jesus declares that mourning is a prerequisite for a blessed life.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus gives us a very unexpected, countercultural, and counterintuitive description of a blessed person. The first characteristic of such a person is that they're "poor in Spirit." What does that mean, and why is it the foundation of being a blessed person?
If someone were to ask us for our goals, how many of them would focus on what we're trying to achieve and how many, if any, would focus on who we're trying to be? And how does our answer to this question affect our happiness?