The book of Psalms is a beautiful but extremely honest look at life. The very first word in this book is “blessed” and Psalm 1 sets up the whole book by talking about how you can live a blessed life. The word “blessed” itself means either set apart as holy, like when I say Jesus our “blessed” savior, but it can also mean extremely happy like I am so blessed today. The question that I want to ask today is, what do you think makes you happy, I mean really happy? Last week was on Matthew 6:33 and keeping first things first and second things second and my own struggle with this. God created us to want to be happy but we have to live life His way. He made us to enjoy life not only now but forever. The problem is that sin deceives and tricks us into believing that things in this world will bring about the great happiness that we all want.
In one of the most famous sermons ever preached, Jesus spoke the sermon on the mount, to his disciples. It was the passage that we read as part of our declaration of faith. He uses the word “blessed” nine times in the first part of Matthew 5.
In order to know true happiness, true blessedness, we need Jesus to answer the question of what will truly make us happy.
His answer to that question comes as a complete shock and surprise.
When Jesus gave the sermon on the mount, He spoke directly against the popular thoughts on how to live a happy life, and He also talked about what it would take to experience heaven on earth. So He was talking about how each person can enjoy a blessed life, but also how a bunch of people who are together in a community, like a family or a school, can enjoy a blessed life together. Just like we will in heaven.
Jesus’ audience was mainly Jewish people who as a nation loved to be praised by others and felt so good about how righteous they were because of all the religious things they did. He told them, blessed are the poor in spirit. He spoke to a nation that loved the pleasures of this world and Jesus told them blessed are those who mourn for sin. Jesus spoke to a nation that was very proud of their history, yet full of revenge. He told them blessed are the meek and the humble. Jesus spoke to people who wanted a lot of earthly treasure and worked hard to acquire it but Jesus said blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Those listening to Jesus had a cruel and persecuting spirit against those that disagreed with them or were different than they were. It was the Jews who begged their authorities to crucify another human being. It was to those people that Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers.
It is easy to look at those people and think of how horrible they are. But are we any better? The recent events in the United States show us again that we are just as proud, full of revenge, and cruel as they were. We have one group of people being violent and another group being self-righteous and arrogant.
What is even worse, all of that ugliness that we see out there, it lives in us.
We have been mean to classmates, boastful of our accomplishments, and cruel to our brothers and sisters. So when Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers, and those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, it was and still is, a radical message to a complete change of our heart and our actions.
Seeking first his kingdom is the road to blessing. It first starts with each of us turning from what we want to do and instead seeking happiness in Christ and obeying Him with a happy heart, but my additional challenge is for all of us in this community of the grammar school, is to be a seeking God’s kingdom here. It means me as a principal, all the teachers, and students, that as a school, we would seek after true happiness by loving God and loving others. When we all do that, we will have a blessed school year.