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Matthew
5:1-12

 
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
 
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
"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 the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

"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 are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  (ESV)
The Kingdom From the King
Tuesday of Easter 5
26 April 2016
The first words of our Lord Jesus recorded in the Gospels are the beatitudes. How different these words are from the legalisms of worldly preachers who are willing to dispense good advice. Their advice always tells us how we can live the good life, "Do this, think that, avoid the other...the seven habits of highly spiritual people, the 'forty days' of blah, blah, blah," and so on. Our Lord does not merely advise, but he gives the kingdom of heaven and all its gifts to us, turning our spiritual poverty into unimaginable richness. How blessed we truly are that our Lord speaks in such a kindly fashion to us. Instead of commanding He gives. Instead of demanding He offers. Instead of advising He acts. Instead of requiring He bestows. O Lord, let us hear such preaching from the pulpits of all our churches!
 
People today will go to great lengths to be told what to do. They will drive a long way and even pay for it. There is a whole economy built around financial advice for which we have the privilege of paying. Yet, we have trouble making any effort to receive the gifts of God. Is it because it is free that we despise it? Have we become so full of the gracious Word of our Lord Christ that we think we no longer need it? And worse yet we have come to prefer worldly advice to His speaking, which gives us His kingdom and all the spiritual blessings included in it. What could be more important than receiving the kingdom of God from the King Himself? Listen when He says, "Blessed are the spiritually poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3).

 

Martin Luther

"This is a fine, sweet, and friendly beginning for Christ's instruction and preaching. He does not come like Moses or a teacher of the law, with demands, threats, and terrors, but in a very friendly way, with enticements, allurements, and pleasant promises. In fact, if it were not for this report which has preserved for us all the first dear words that the Lord Christ preached, curiosity would drive and impel everyone to run all the way to Jerusalem, or even to the end of the world, just to hear one word of it. You would find plenty of money to build such a road well! And everyone would proudly boast that he had heard or read the very word that the Lord Christ had preached. How wonderfully happy the man would seem who succeeded in this! That is exactly how it would really be if we had none of this in written form, even though there might be a great deal written by others. Everyone would say: 'Yes, I hear what St. Paul and Christ's other apostles have taught, but I would much rather hear what he himself spoke and preached.'
 
"But now since it is so common that everyone has it written in a book and can read it every day, no one thinks of it as anything special or precious. Yes, we grow satisfied and neglect it, as if it had been spoken by some shoemaker rather than the high Majesty of heaven. Therefore it is in punishment for our ingratitude and neglect that we get so little out of it and never feel nor taste what a treasure, power, and might there is in the words of Christ. But whoever has the grace to recognize it as the Word of God rather than the word of man, will also think of it more highly and dearly, and will never grow sick and tired of it."

Martin Luther,  Sermon on the Sermon on the Mount, 5.3
 
Prayer
O Lord, send Your Holy Spirit among us that we might hunger and thirst to receive the blessed announcement of Your kingdom which comes by Your Word. Amen.
 
For the vicar-designate who will be assigned to Memorial Lutheran Church this evening, that the Lord would grant him growth in faith and knowledge in his time of service among God's people
 
For all Christian preachers, that they would preach Christ and all the gifts He grants to His church and not worldly wisdom
 
For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that he would support and encourage the pastors under his supervision to preach the gospel
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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