Theme: How to Be Truly Happy
From this week’s lessons, we see that genuine happiness is found, not where the world assumes it to be, but in imitating the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12
If a producer of a popular movie, a director of one of today’s successful television shows, or the editor of a widely circulating news or fashion magazine were to rewrite the Beatitudes from a contemporary point of view, I suppose they would go like this: Blessed are the rich and powerful, blessed are the sexually liberated, blessed are the beautiful and handsome, blessed are the famous, blessed are those the world looks up to.
But this is the exact opposite of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” (Matt. 5:3-10).
The striking thing about these beatitudes, however, is that the life they describe is not put forward as something gruesome or miserable (though necessary for gaining eternal life), but as the way to true happiness. For that is what the word “blessed” means. Blessed means “happy”—not in the world’s sense of a mere superficial gaiety, of course, but in a deeper and far better sense. In the Beatitudes Jesus was saying that the cross is the way to real happiness.
The world does not know this, of course. In the United States people are guaranteed “the pursuit of happiness” as an “inalienable right,” and, like others the world over, they spend much of their time pursuing happiness.
Define the word “blessed.” In addition to what is said about it in the lesson, how else could you describe it?
The Beatitudes are one example of Jesus’ teaching that is the exact opposite of how the world thinks. What else did Jesus teach that is contrary to the normal way of thinking and acting?
Application: During the course of this week, set a goal to memorize the Beatitudes.