An Exchange of Strength

Sandy Zull

READ : Matthew 11:20-30 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5) Imagine a presidential candidate in a campaign year adopting the slogan, “Vote for me! I am meek! I’ll make you meek too!” It is so bizarre it isn’t even humorous; just, well, ridiculous. In a culture bred of full-throttle expansion meekness leaves you with a piece of nothing, eating the dust of progress. Perhaps, though, our understanding of meekness is uninformed. Is meekness an …

A Welcome Promise

Sandy Zull

READ : Isaiah 65:17-25 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) A promise with no requirements, how delicious! Everyone experiences loss and will, therefore, be comforted. Jesus knows, and all disciples continue to learn, that kingdom living comes with searing loss. Leaving all to follow Jesus is only an entry point. What couple at their wedding really contemplates all the possibilities in “for better or worse“? Sadly, the possibilities of “worse” may be greater and …

Choosing Poverty

Sandy Zull

READ : Luke 18:9-14 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:2) Jesus shocks us intentionally. The state of being poor and that of possessing the deeply longed-for kingdom are seamlessly brought together. He is the king, and kingdoms are all about wealth and power. We cannot help but wonder if this statement struck the disciples as supremely odd, a disappointment, or perhaps a complete enigma. Whatever their response, “Oh well. Yes, of …

Called Away

Sandy Zull

READ : Matthew 5:1-12 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them . . . (vv. 1-2) Incredible intentionality! With an emotionally neutral, factual introduction we are sent straight to the heart of Jesus’ teaching. Falling on the heels of a rather hectic chapter 4, the shift into the who-what-when-where style of reporting sets the mood for the economy of …