For the last two years, much of my focus in prayer and thought has been soaked in the Beatitudes. Part of this is for a practical purpose. I am currently writing a book to be published in the Fall of 2021 by Fortress Press (working title: Jesus People: Communities Formed by the Beatitudes).
But more importantly, I have become convinced that the Beatitudes are, indeed, the lens through which we are called to live. They encapsulate Jesus’ entire life, ministry, teaching, death and resurrection. Each of us would do well to commit them to memory and prayerfully reflect upon them every day.
Because in the tumultuous storm that is currently raging throughout American society, the Beatitudes give us an anchor that enables us to offer a grounded, Christlike response.
(NOTE: This post is part of a blog series on the Gospel of Mark. I am sharing a few little tidbits from my own personal study of Mark over the last few months. Below are a few of my notes from Mark 3.)
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6)
Notice that there is no mention of the man asking for healing. Jesus intentionally seeks him out on this Sabbath day. By healing this man in this fashion, Jesus wants to make an emphatic statement about what God values. People are always “the point.” When we elevate agendas, rules, or tasks over people, we are out of sync with the heart of God.