64: What the promises of the Beatitudes mean for today with Jonathan Dodson

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Read these words from Matthew 5:1-10:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

These Beatitudes—the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount—are promises, says Jonathan Dodson.

The founding pastor of City Life Church in Austin, and founder of Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Jonathan is the author of several books. His latest is titled: “Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes.”

It’s a meditation on the Beatitudes, a “training in goodness,” which as he says, have, “the power and wisdom to center us in these dizzying times and bring the change we need.”

Jonathan writes: “The way into the mystical inebriation love of Christ is not through moral perfection but humble reflection.” And that’s exactly what he shares in this episode.

Show highlights include:

  • On writing his book: In response to changes of the times, new questions being asked of Christianity
  • What qualifies as a crisis: Definition changed through history; something difficult that demands immediate attention
  • Learning from Beatitudes: Gateway into joy
  • On Beatitudes being intimidating: Moral clarity but also inspiring
  • On being poor in spirit: Spiritual poverty, being in touch with those economically and spiritually oppressed, vertical humility
  • Meaning of blessed are the meek: Horizontal humility    
  • Blessed are to those who mourn: So much to mourn these days, shall be comforted by Jesus
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: To be righteous is to be just
  • Difference between righteousness and pure of heart: Righteousness is external and pure of heart is internal  
  • Living out the Beatitudes today
  • How the church fits into the Beatitudes  
  • Practices of a peacemaker 

Good words from Jonathan Dodson in this show:

Today people are asking different questions. They’re asking, ‘What’s Christianity’s stance on racism, on gender, on sexuality?’ They aren’t really asking, ‘Is Christianity true?’ They’re asking, ‘Is Christianity good?’”  

“The beatitudes are these moral, punchy statements. But, they have the kind of depth of spiritual promise underneath them that if we will soak in them, they can actually inform us and give us that kind of judgment that we need, that moral discernment but also bring joy in the midst of crisis.”  

“What Jesus offers us when he says, ‘They shall be comforted.’ He is saying, ‘I’m a friend who doesn’t leave. I’m a comforting presence that doesn’t have a limit. There is no expiration date on my comfort. My comfort is longer and deeper than even your best friend, even your spouse.’ In fact, the holy spirit is called the comforter.”

“I think there is a satisfaction that God wants to bring us that requires us aligning with him.”

“Morality is part of who God is, he is a moral being. When we walk in his ways, we enjoy the light of life.”

“I’m not just going to try and live right, I’m going to align my heart with what’s right.”

“A peacemaker loves the person more than the relationship…I’m going to love the person no matter what it costs.”

Additional resources:

Download this episode wherever you get your podcasts. Find show notes for this episode and more at caringmagazine.org/podcast.  Connect with Jonathan Dodson via City Life Church

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