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Daily Readings/ Editorial

DAILY READINGS

Scriptures to be read before the sermon on Sunday, January 21:

Monday: Matthew 5:1-12

Tuesday: Matthew 5:13-26

Wednesday: Matthew 5:27-37

Thursday: Matthew 5:38-48

Friday: Matthew 6:1-18

Saturday: Matthew 5:1-6:18

EDITORIAL

“Congratulations!”

Congratulations! That is how Jesus began each verse in Matthew 5:3-10 – what we commonly refer to as the “Beatitudes.” You probably have seen that word translated as “blessed” or “happy.” But, the word was used by ancient people all over the Greek world to congratulate someone who was judged to in some way share the privileged estate of the gods. That, however, is not what Jesus had in mind.

Instead, Jesus congratulates the poor, lowly and persecuted and other people who would not have been expected. His introductory words are congratulatory because He knows that God’s reign has broken into the world in an altogether new and different way. That is the cause for celebration for everyone – not just the rich and powerful! Such a celebration brings a happiness or blessedness – not in the sense of having an excited or bubbly kind of mood, but in having the joy that comes from knowing God has broken into the world to provide deliverance in the most amazing way ever – through Jesus.

Jesus said several upside-down, scratch-your-head, have-to-stop-and-think-about-it kind of things not just in the “Beatitudes” but also throughout His sermon (Matthew 5-7). He did that not just to get people’s attention, but to call them to look at deliverance in a new and different kind of way. The deliverance he was talking about was not like what they thought – like when God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Instead, Jesus had come to show people how to participate in God’s deliverance from sin and death.

What greater joy (blessedness) in life can there be than to participate in God’s deliverance that is brought by Jesus Christ? Join us this coming Sunday as we look at the “how tos” which Jesus provides to help us also participate in God’s deliverance.

John Harp

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