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Sermon Quotes

The Beatitudes

Gregory Boyle

Scripture scholars contend that the original language of the Beatitudes should not be rendered as “Blessed are the single-hearted” or “Blessed are the peacemakers” or “Blessed are those who struggle for justice.” Greater precision in translation would say, “You’re in the right place if…you are single-hearted or work for peace.” The Beatitudes is not a spirituality, after all. It’s a geography. It tells us where to stand.”

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Free Press, 2011.

Tony Campolo

If we were to set out to establish a religion in polar opposition to the Beatitudes Jesus taught, it would look strikingly similar to the pop Christianity that has taken over the airwaves of North America.

Michael H. Crosby

Making peace makes us God’s children—and kin to each other.

Spirituality of the Beatitudes

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting

for the meek to be blessed

and inherit the earth…

without taxes.

George Herbert

I never find “Blessed are the rich,” or “Blessed be the noble”’ but Blessed be the meek,” and, “Blessed be the poor,” and, “Blessed be the mourners, for they shall be comforted.”-And yet, O God!, most carry themselves so, as if they not only desired, but even feared to be blessed.

Izaak Walton, Life of George Herbert

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Becoming a child is living the Beatitudes and so finding the narrow gate into the Kingdom.

Jacques Philippe 

A third way of interpreting possession of the earth is that for someone who lives the Beatitudes—a man of humble heart, poor and meek—is well in the end. Every circumstance, fortunate or unfortunate, every success and failure, adds its bit to making him grow. Practicing the Beatitudes is the way to immense freedom.

The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes, Scepter.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

When Mary asserts explicitly that God is on the side of the poor, we can understand it within the tension of what it means to be blessed as the poor in spirit. Rather than elevating poverty to a form of righteousness, Jesus is instead calling for a revolution of imagination around the nature of what we consider true blessing. Jesus is here declaring that the humble and repentant heart is the fertile soil of his kingdom.

The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis and Life in the Kingdom

Paul Simon

Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on.

Charles Spurgeon

A true prayer is an inventory of needs, a catalog of necessities, an exposure of secret wounds, a revelation of hidden poverty.

Bryan Stevenson

There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise.

Just Mercy: A Story of Mercy and Redemption

Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee

Being a peacemaker is part of being surrendered to God, for God brings peace. We abandon the effort to get our needs met through the destruction of enemies. God comes to us in Christ to make peace with us; and we participate in God’s grace as we go to our enemies to make peace.

Kingdom Ethics

John R.W. Stott

Now peacemaking is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation. … It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the particular blessing which attaches to peacemakers is that “they shall be called sons of God.” For they are seeking to do what their Father has done, loving people with his love.

The Message of the Sermon on the Mount

Kurt Vonnegut

[Many Christians] demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. … I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon?

“Cold Turkey,” In These Times

Dallas Willard

[The beatitudes] serve to clarify Jesus’ fundamental message: the free availability of God’s rule and righteousness to all of humanity through reliance upon Jesus Himself… They do this simply by taking those who, from the human point of view, are regarded as most hopeless, most beyond all possibility of God’s blessing or even interest, and exhibiting them as enjoying God’s touch and abundant provision from the heavens.

The Divine Conspiracy

Romano Guardini

In the Beatitudes something of the celestial grandeur breaks through. They are no mere formulas for superior ethics, but tidings of sacred and supreme reality’s entry into the world.

The Lord, Regnery Publishing, 1954.

N.T. Wright

When God wants to sort out the world, as the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount make clear, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the meek, the broken, the justice hungry, the peacemakers, the pure-hearted and so on.”

The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is

Scot McKnight

The socioeconomic rootedness of the word ‘poor’ does not permit exclusively the spiritual poverty interpretation, and the ‘in spirit’ demands that this be more than simple economic oppression…[nevertheless the poor in spirit are] the economically destitute who nonetheless trust God.

Sermon on the Mount, Zondervan, 2013.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

[The Poor in Spirit have] a complete absence of pride, a complete absence of self-assurance and self-reliance.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), p.33,40.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

It is nothing, then, that we can produce; it is nothing that we can do in ourselves. It is just this tremendous awareness of our utter nothingness as we come face-to-face with God.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), p. 40.

Jonathan K. Dodson

Just a few minutes spent reflecting on the promises that come attached to the Beatitudes can lift us up like the whirlwind of God’s love in a revival tent meeting: inherit the earth, yours is the kingdom, you will be satisfied, you shall receive mercy, and you shall see God. Jesus himself wants these promises, and his moral goodness, to break in now—in our lives, churches, communities, and countries.

Taken from Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes by Jonathan K. Dodson Copyright (c) 2020 by Jonathan K. Dodson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Jonathan K. Dodson

Beatitude is a strange but compelling word. It comes from the Latin word beatitudo, which is a translation of the Greek word makarios, meaning blessed, favored, or flourishing. The Beatitudes show us eight ways to live a blessed life (or nine, depending how you read Matthew 5:10-12).

Taken from Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes by Jonathan K. Dodson Copyright (c) 2020 by Jonathan K. Dodson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Skye Jethani

Too often those characteristics [of the Beatitudes] … are turned into ideals we must strive to attain. As ideals, they can become formulas for power rather than descriptions of the kind of people characteristic of the new age brought by Christ…. Thus Jesus does not tell us that we should try to become poor in spirit, or meek, or peacemakers. He simply says that many who are called into the kingdom will find themselves so constituted.

What If Jesus Was Serious?: A Visual Guide to the Teachings of Jesus We Love to Ignore, Moody, 2020.

Skye Jethani

Jesus is not prescribing how to be blessed, but rather describing who is blessed. While the world says the strong, powerful, and happy are “well off,” Jesus turns our expectations upside down by saying it’s the weak, sad, and overlooked who are well off in God’s kingdom.

What If Jesus Was Serious?: A Visual Guide to the Teachings of Jesus We Love to Ignore, Moody, 2020.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

With every beatitude, the gulf is widened between the disciples and the people, and their call to come forth from the people becomes increasingly manifest.

The Cost Of Discipleship, 6th and Complete English edition, SCM, 1959.

R.V.G. Tasker

The disciples are to be a moral disinfectant in a world where moral standards are low, constantly changing, or non-existent.

The Gospel according to St Matthew, (Tyndale New Testament Commentary; InterVarsity Press, 1961.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The glory of the gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first.’

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, InterVarsity Press, 1977.

Jeffrey P. Greenman

For Augustine, the reason Jesus went up on a mountain is clear: he wanted to teach them about higher things.

The Sermon on the Mount Through the Centuries: From the Early Church to John Paul II, edited by, et al., Brazos Press, 2007.

Kendrick Lamar (For Contrast)

Blessed are the liars, / For the truth can be awkward.

Kendrick Lamar and U2, “American Soul,” Songs of Experience CD, December 2017.

R.V.G. Tasker

The disciples are to be a moral disinfectant in a world where moral standards are low, constantly changing, or non-existent.

The Gospel according to St Matthew, (Tyndale New Testament Commentary; InterVarsity Press, 1961.

Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Blessed are they who have no locks on their door.

John R.W. Stott

Nevertheless, it is plain from the rest of Jesus’ teaching that the kingdom of God is a present reality which we can ‘receive’, ‘inherit’ or ‘enter’ now. Similarly, we can obtain mercy and comfort now, can become God’s children now, and in this life can have our hunger satisfied and our thirst quenched. Jesus promised all these blessings to his followers in the here and now. The promise that we ‘shall see God’ may sound like a reference to the final ‘beatific vision’, and no doubt includes it. But we already begin to see God in this life both in the person of his Christ and with spiritual vision. We even begin to ‘inherit the earth’ in this life since if we are Christ’s all things are already ours, ‘whether … the world or life or death or the present or the future’.

Taken from The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7: Christian Counter-Culture) by John R.W. Stott Copyright (c) 1985 by John R.W. Stott. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

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