|photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc|
That word blessed in the original Greek can also mean happy or fortunate. I find this super interesting because the Jews were not very happy during Jesus days. They had been under foreign oppression for generations. The Assyrians. The Babylonians. The Persians. The Greeks. And now the Romans. The Romans not only oppressed the Jews but abused them as well. They taxed them heavily. If they couldn’t pay their taxes they took their children and sold them as payment. Romans were known to go into towns suspected of insurrection and kill everyone. There was a lot of bloodshed between Rome and Judea and I can assure you that the Jews at this time did not feel like blessed, happy or fortunate people. Not only that, but many of the Jews were under the religious demands of the Pharisees. The burden that the traditions of the Pharisees placed on them were heavy. People felt incapable of measuring up. And who can forget the abject poverty of so many of the Jews at this time? One would have a hard time believing that Israel was once a rich and powerful nation. Poverty was everywhere.
It is in the midst of all of this drama that Jesus begins to preach a sermon about blessing and happiness. You see, Jesus was preaching directly to the greatest need of his listeners – happiness. Jesus knew they were under a ton of stress. There were mothers in the audience whose husbands had been murdered by Roman soldiers. Husbands whose wives had been mistreated and abused by men in power. There were families who saw their child dragged away into slavery never to be seen again. Farmers who couldn’t get enough crops to grow. Jesus knew their pain. He saw it on their faces. He saw the agony and the deep brokenness of those who had come to hear words of hope. Jesus knew just what they needed. Jesus knows what you need too. You see, He’s here today in the same way he was there over 2000 years ago. He stands and looks into each of our eyes. He sees our troubles. He sees our pain. He sees our frustrations. He knows you’ve lost a lot in this life. He knows you’ve suffered, and cried, and mourned. Some have lost children, friends, parents. Some have been mistreated, abused, or betrayed. Some wrestle with depression, anxiety, despair and hopelessness. I want you to know that Jesus knows. He knows and he cares. In the moments when you feel alone and unimportant like nobody is interested in your pain remember that Jesus cares. And whatever you are going through right now, he will fix it.