I don’t think many think of this, so let me make it clear right away: if love of God and love others is the foundation and final expression of what we are designed to be, if Pentecost empowers us to be this, then I want to suggest that Sermon on the Mount is an exposition of what it looks like to love God and to love others. (So, the 4th part of 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed.)
If you’ve followed this blog or my writings, you will know that I think it is a big, big mistake to see the Beatitudes as a list of virtues. Nor is it a Jesus version of Paul’s fruit of the Spirit. Instead, the Beatitudes are a list of the gaggle of folks that found kingdom redemption by following Jesus.
In other words, it’s a list of the kind of people who make up the people of God, the followers of Jesus. It is a list that “all kinds” find their way to Jesus.
If I connect the Beatitudes to anything in the early church, I link it to Pentecost — the day when those first Jewish followers of Jesus began to realize that God’s work was a whole lot bigger than they ever expected. The day they learned that Gentiles — raw and Greek-speaking and Latin-speaking — were finding their way to the table with Jesus.
Pentecost empowers us to be the universal people of God. And Jesus’ Beatitudes cracked the window open on that one. The kingdom is made up of folks one would never expect to see there and some of those we thought would certainly be there are outside looking in.