On the eighth day of Christmas

my True Love gave to me:

Eight beatitudes

Jesus begins His sermon on the mount in Matthew 5 with these 8 blessings, defining life in His Kingdom. Like Moses gave the law on a mountain, Jesus gives a new law on this mountain. The law brought a curse on sinners (Galatians 3:10), but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6-8).

The first 4 and last 1 are paradoxical. You wouldn't expect the poor to inherit kingdoms, the meek to possess the whole earth, the hungry to be filled. But God delights to raise up the humble and cast down the arrogant and exalted (Luke 1:51-53).

You could count Matthew 5:11-12 as a ninth blessing, but it seems to be more an expansion of the 8th. We often feel pity for the persecuted church. We shake our heads in helpless sorrow, or get angry about it. Jesus has a much different response: you're on the right track when the world hates you! Let us pray for the harassed church, but not seeking their comfort and the removal of all trials. That would slow our sanctification, lessen our reward, and dampen our testimony to a watching world.

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