THE OTHER BEATITUDES

Most people with some knowledge of the Bible are familiar with what are called The Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are the opening statements of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 in which he lists some of the qualities and attitudes he wants his followers to cultivate and exhibit. They are called beatitudes because Jesus affirms that those who have such qualities are “blessed.”

But what does it mean to be “blessed?” In his book about the beatitudes, Max Lucado suggests it means that from heaven God applauds those with these attitudes and actions. I like to think of this usage of “blessed” as God’s favor on and congratulations to such people.

While they are the best known, Jesus’ beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount are not the only promises of being “blessed” in the Bible. What I was reminded of last week, and find especially interesting, is that there are seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation in which people are promised they are “blessed.”

There is a lot in the book of Revelation I don’t understand, and I certainly don’t understand as much as I would like about the beatitudes in the book. But I am challenged, encouraged, and affirmed by them.

You may want to go to your own Bible and read them in context, but here are the verses:

Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.”

Revelation 14:13, “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on’.”

Revelation 16:15, “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”

Revelation 19:9. “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God’.”

Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”

Revelation 22:7, “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”

Revelation’s beatitudes are not easy to understand, but they are statements of God’s favor on certain people. If you’re like me, you too want to be one of those people. I encourage you to reflect on these verses as well as go back and read and reflect on Jesus’ beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12.

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