Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany
January 30, 2011
Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Doesn't it seem to you that our whole culture is devoted to promoting the idea that our chief goal in life is to be happy?
Advertising sells products based on how much happier we will be if we purchase a particular brand of shampoo or toothpaste or deodorant soap (although that probably affects the happiness of the people around us more than it affects us!). Many of us have bought into the idea that our major purpose in life is to be happy. And we believe we have an inherent right to complain when we're not happy.
The world defines happiness a certain way. But the Bible defines it differently. I think that to the world, happiness means
always getting things your way. But that's a dream. It's not going to happen. It is as hard to grasp as nailing a block of jell-o
to a tree.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reverses the way people usually think of happiness. Everything is the opposite from what
we expect. If His way were the same as the way of the world, Jesus would have said, "Blessed are the rich in spirit…." But
Jesus says the exact opposite. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." He does not say, "Blessed are the Ruthless for they shall inherit
the earth." He says, "Blessed are the meek." Statements like this can be difficult for us to understand.
The section from the Sermon on the Mount which I read to you from Matthew chapter 5 is a familiar passage known as the
Beatitudes. I can't possibly do justice to this section in a single sermon, so I've decided just to focus on one of the verses.
Verse 5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."