Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bonhoeffer on Matthew 5:7-9

This Sunday we will be looking at Matthew 5:7-9. As I studied this text, I was encouraged and enjoyed reading some of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to say on these verses. Here is a sampling:

Matthew 5:7 - "These men w/o possessions or power, these strangers on earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their life with him renounced their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own needs and their own distress were not enough, they take upon themselves the distress and humiliation and sin of others . . . For the only honor and dignity they know is their Lord’s own mercy, to which alone they owe their very lives. He was not ashamed of his disciples, he became the brother of mankind and bore their shame unto the death of the cross. This is how Jesus, the crucified, was merciful. His followers owe their lives entirely to that mercy. It makes them forget their own honor and dignity, and seek the society of sinners . . . "Blessed are the merciful, for they have the Merciful for their Lord." (111-112)

Matthew 5:8 - "Who is pure in heart? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil - and by their own virtues too . . . If men renounce their own good, if in penitence they have renounced their own hearts, if they rely solely upon Jesus, then his words purifies their hearts. Purity of heart is here contrasted with all outward purity, even the purity of high intentions. The pure heart is pure alike of good and evil it belongs exclusively t Christ and looks only to him who goes on before." (112)

Matthew 5:9 - "The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When he called them they found their peace, for he is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have pace but make it . . . The peacemakers will carry the cross with their Lord, for it was on the cross that peace was made. Now that they are partners in Christ’s work of reconciliation, they are called the sons of God as he is the Son of God." (112-113)

To Bonhoeffer, in the end, these Beatitudes regarding Sanctification (the doctrine that describes the Christian life as growing in holiness) rooted in the cross. I think he's right. The cross is the center of everything; especially the Chrisitan life and its road to holiness.

For More:
Bonhoeffer: The Meaning of Poor In Spirit and the Joy of Being Spiritual Bankrupt
Weekly Recommendation: "The Cost of Discipleship"

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