“Salt and Light”: Matthew 5 | Who Is Blessed?

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said, “Blessed are….”

Matthew 5:1-3

We often think of blessings as things that go our way:

  • The business you work for gave you a bonus
  • Your son is dating a really nice girl, finally….
  • You got that new job.
  • You left that old job.
  • You’re running late and the light that’s usually red, is green.
  • You found ten dollars on the street.

There are a lot of things that we call “blessings”, which – biblically – may or may not be blessings: He’s dating the right girl – probably, yes. God blessed me by changing the red light to green – probably, no

“Blessing”, in the Bible, is put on a stronger foundation than whether life is going well for you, or not. In fact, the Bible speaks about blessing, primarily, as this: What God thinks of you. It really should be the only thing that matters. Not what he or she thinks of you. Not even what you think of yourself, but who you are in God’s eyes.

This, from Paul’s Letter to the Church at Rome, shows us the deeper, stronger blessing we can enjoy:

“Blessed are those whose … whose sins are covered; blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)

Now, think with me for a moment about the person who this blessing comes to – the person God speaks this blessing over:

  • The businessman who has embezzled thousands of dollars, and is going to jail, leaving his wife and children destitute.
  • The wife who has been cheating on her husband for years.
  • The father who consistently puts his children down in private and in public.

When each of these people – the businessman, the wife, the father – come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and know and confess that they have sinned, the blessing that Paul speaks about, is theirs: Blessed is the one against whom God will not count his/her sin.

But that blessing has nothing to do with the outward circumstances of their lives – their lives are in tatters, in ruins, and it will take years to serve the prison sentence; to rebuild trust with her husband; to become a consistently gentle, loving father to his children.

Biblical blessing can also rest on people who have gone through unimaginable life changes that they did not choose – that they did not bring on themselves – hard, excruciating changes that cause suffering, even disability.

Sarah Phillips, Christian writer, blogger, and Mom, writes about this:

“I have a friend who may not seem very ‘blessed’ to people looking in from the outside. At age 18, he was diagnosed with aggressive leukemia and went from professionally swimming to fighting for his life in hospital in a matter of weeks.

Over the next few years he endured treatment after treatment, each one more brutal than the last. He is now cancer free, but is instead living with a debilitating chronic condition—a result of the cancer.

For seven years now, he has endured chronic pain that prevents him from sleeping, increasingly damaged skin that seriously affects his mobility and causes terrible wounds that refuse to heal.

At twenty-nine, he cannot work, exercise or travel and he spends many hours of the week in hospital. Nobody can tell him whether he will ever get better or not because nobody knows. But he is extraordinarily blessed.

He is blessed because he knows with utter certainty and conviction, that his Heavenly Father loves him and knows what is ultimately good for him.

He is blessed because he walks closely with God, driven daily to his knees in prayer. …

He is blessed because he recognizes his weakness and dependence on God, and drinks in His word.

He’s blessed because he’s forced to collapse regularly into God’s sustaining arms and has experienced first-hand that Jesus is truly enough.

He is blessed because his eyes are fixed firmly on heaven since this life for him is so painful and broken.

God blesses us by changing our hearts, and God has sculpted my friend’s heart into a masterpiece.”

The blessings in the Beatitudes are for the people of God, because they tell us how God sees us when we are up against the very worst:

“You don’t have a big ego that commands the room, and you worry that maybe that has cost you – that you haven’t been bold enough? God says: “You are blessed and yours is the kingdom of heaven.”

You are heart-broken about the big difference between the way the world is, and the way that Jesus says it should be? You will be comforted.

Even though you see how much anger and violence and power can accomplish in this world, still you are committed to the heart of Jesus the good and gentle shepherd? You will inherit the earth.

You want people to know God so bad, you can taste it? You will be filled.

You practice mercy, even though it gets you into trouble? You will be shown mercy.

You fight hard to have a pure heart – to keep out all the dark but tempting stuff you see in culture? You will see God.

They’ve been fighting for years, but you’re determined to help them make peace with one another? You are a child of God.

You do the right thing even when it costs you friendship, family, time and money? Yours is the kingdom of heaven.

You’re insulted at work, at school – maybe even in your own home – because of what you believe? In God’s eyes, you are blessed.


Thank you for stopping by! If you would like your devotional on the go, you can listen to them on SPOTIFY or APPLE podcasts.

I pastor Mattituck Presbyterian Church, on the North Fork of Long Island. You can visit our website, HERE, and if you would like to view our worship services, you can join us on Facebook at 9:00am (Contemporary) and 11:15am (Traditional Worship Service): FACEBOOK, or you can watch recent messages on YOUTUBE.

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