How Following Jesus is Like Opposite Day pt. 1
Text: Matthew 5:1-5
I’m not sure if you did goofy & sometimes dangerous things when you were bored in school growing up but we did. We shot each other with staples launched from our pencils like idiots, made “passing gas” sounds when the teacher was turned around to write on the board & flicked paper footballs all the time. We also played MASH. This was a game that prophetically determined your future; for instance my spouse was to be Cindy Crawford, I was to drive a red sports car, and live in log cabin like Honest Abe. Originally this was played on a regular piece of paper & eventually with a cool origami project in the 2.0 version.
I think my favorite goofy thing we did was we would proclaim that a certain day of the week would be “opposite day.” The rules were very vague and loose but the goal was to live in the exact opposite way as you would on any regular day. This would make those who were playing very different from the rest of the student body. We would walk backwards down the halls (which caused many problems). Say good bye instead of hello. Choose the opposite of what we usually got at lunch; i.e. skim milk instead of delicious chocolate milk. We got picked on once by older kids and we responded “I’m sorry. You guys are the coolest.” They -walked off and we laughed forever because.. well.. it was opposite day.
Well in today’s text Jesus is about to turn his disciple’s world upside down with His teaching. He sat down on the mountain, which was the customary teaching position of the time, and said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (5:3) If you have ever heard a really compelling quote and thought wow; that’s what the disciples were probably thinking. This word blessed (makarios) means “blessed or happy.” Happy are the POOR in spirit. This would have been a paradoxical statement for his disciples because most Jews of the day believed being poor in any way was a signal that person was being punished by God. Then He followed with Happy are the those who MOURN & then those who are HUMBLE. Do poor, mourning, humble people seem like the people you want to be if your aim is happiness? They didn’t either. Seemed like the opposite of truth at face value.
Jesus was teaching us that real happiness isn’t determined by our circumstances but by having a right relationship with God. He was teaching us with the first three verses or beatitudes what kind of HEART we need to have to experience a right relationship with God. We need to be people who are “poor in Spirit” which means people who know that we are spiritually bankrupt without God. We have no righteousness that is sufficient, we have no way of saving ourselves and know we aren’t okay without God. Poor in Spirit is the opposite of self-sufficiency. If you don’t feel like you need a Savior or a King, you are not someone who is poor in Spirit. And Jesus says this is the beginning of true happiness.
He also taught that people who are happy or blessed are people who “mourn for they will be comforted.” The mourning He is referring to is people who mourn their sin. Who know they mess up and have messed up. Who know they need forgiveness. Jesus said they would be comforted; and this would be true because the One who spoke it, would pay for our sins just 3 years later. When you know you are forgiven and you needed to be; it is one of the most freeing and joyful experiences ever!
Lastly, He taught that we should be people who are “humble for they will inherit the whole earth.” He is saying that these people who are “poor in Spirit”, “mourn” and “humble” will one day be apart of His perfect Kingdom in the New Heaven and Earth (think perfection forever). All three of these verses teach us that true followers of Jesus begin and continue their relationship with Him in humility. “I got this” is violently antithetical to following Christ. But here is the crux of the matter; “I got this” is the mentality of the world. It is celebrated, encouraged, and expected of the worlds best and brightest most of the time. But Jesus offers us a completely different way to live than the norm.
“I need You God”; instead of “I got this.”
And Jesus said living this opposite way is the beginning to true happiness and blessing.
Chasing Jesus Question:
1. Do you feel joyful when you do things in your own power, for your own glory? When you do things with a “I Got This” mentality? What about when you fully release control to God in your life?
Chasing Jesus Challenge
1) What sin could you confess to God today? Ask God to help you “mourn” it and not just halfheartedly confess it. He promises He will comfort you if you do!
Chasing Jesus Social Media Quote:
Following Christ doesn’t look like “I got this”; but instead “I need You.” #chasingJesus