The Beatitudes Robb Moser

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Published: December 6th 2013

Kindle Edition

19 pages


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The Beatitudes  by  Robb Moser

The Beatitudes by Robb Moser
December 6th 2013 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 19 pages | ISBN: | 5.56 Mb

The Beatitudes: at the outset of His public ministry, as Matthew records it, the Lord issued that Manifesto known as the Sermon on the Mount. In it He announced the principles which would govern the citizens of the new spiritual order He had come toMoreThe Beatitudes: at the outset of His public ministry, as Matthew records it, the Lord issued that Manifesto known as the Sermon on the Mount.

In it He announced the principles which would govern the citizens of the new spiritual order He had come to inaugurate. To to be sure, God’s kingdom is a term which covers a vast ambit, but Paul’s summary (Romans 14:17) disclosed its innermost nature, “The kingdom of God does not mean food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Whatever its eschatological and cosmic dimensions, therefore, that kingdom is the quality of life which one experiences when by faith in the Gospel he submits himself to the rule of redemptive love. The opening passage in that Manifesto (Matthew 5:3-12- Luke 6:20-24) is a series of epigrammatic statements which are at once delineation and demand, the so-called beatitudes.Positioned at the threshold of Matthew’s unique biography, this passage immediately makes clear that a distinctive personality-pattern together with an equally distinctive life-style ought to characterize the disciples of the Messiah who is also Master, since the indicative here is implicitly an imperative.Several things about these epigrammatic statements require brief comment.

For one thing, though they are expressed in a striking diction which is pithy and poetic, it is no doubt true that parallels to them can be adduced from the Old Testament and the Talmud. This, however, does not detract from the originality of Jesus, viewing Him on a purely human plane. To abstract these insights from a mass of literature—much of it, in the case of the Talmud, spiritually worthless—remit and cast them into an integrated ideal is evidence of a creativity nothing short of genius.For a second thing, the much-disputed structure of the passage deserves at least a passing glance.

Some scholars have argued that, on the analogy of the Decalogue, there are ten beatitudes- others count nine- still others have tried to reduce them to seven.Taken naturally, though, they appear to number eight, with the last one repeated for emphasis and shifting from the third to the second person. Ingenious attempts have been made to show a progressive development of thought, but such attempts smack of artificiality and contrivance.Little may be legitimately asserted, it would seem, except that these beatitudes view Christlike character from varying perspectives, emphasizing the loving righteousness which grace produces.

Centering in that theme—the loving righteousness which grace produces—these behavioral principles reveal the attitudes which ideally stamp the disciple as a disturbing non-conformist. They italicize the need for grace by italicizing the disciple’s own unrighteousness, his insufficiency and failure, his need for ardently pursuing God’s righteousness, and his need for actively implementing that righteous ness even though he may suffer at the hands of an unrighteous world.

To find any tightly articulated structure in the passage, one suspects, is to engage in exegesis.For a third thing, one is impressed by the Savior’s extraordinary skill in the use of mindstretching paradox. Taking the beatitudes ad seriatum, He talks about wealthy paupers, happy mourners, unaggressive conquerors, lusting saints, self-enriching benefactors, realistic visionaries, militant pacifists, and winning losers. Thus Christ compels the merely indolent and curious to react with either serious reflection or offended withdrawal.

Of course, the paradox is inherent in the nature of God’s kingdom which, as Paul Bretcher has pointed out in The World Upside Down or Right Side Up? inverts the whole scale of secular ambitions and virtues, precisely as Nietzsche perceived when he protested against Christianity’s tran



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