The Secret of being Blessed
Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and his reputation spread as he taught in their synagogues, and he was highly spoken of by everybody.
Wherever he went he proclaimed, “God’s Rule is at hand. Change your ways and believe the good news.”
And he taught, saying, “The truly humble in spirit are blessed, for they will enjoy God’s Rule.”
“Those who grieve over the way things are, are blessed, for they will experience God’s deliverance.” (see Isaiah 40.1-4).
“Those who have a hunger and thirst to live rightly are blessed, for they will be satisfied.”
“Those who are merciful to others are blessed, for they will obtain mercy.”
“Those who are pure in heart are blessed. For they will see God.”
“Those who strive to make peace between people are blessed, for they will be called children of God.”
“Those who are persecuted for walking in the right way are blessed, for they will experience God’s Rule.”
“When men revile you and persecute you, and say many evil things against you falsely for my sake, you are blessed. Then you may make whoopee and be filled with delight, for great will be your reward in Heaven, for that is how they persecuted the prophets who came before you.”
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its flavour, how will it potency be restored? From then on it is fit for nothing except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot.”
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men switch on a light and cover it up. rather they put it in the middle of the room so that it gives light to everyone there.”
“Let the light of your good-living so shine before men that they may see your fine actions and give glory to your Father in Heaven.”
One day he arrived in Cana, and was approached there by one of Herod’s courtiers whose son was seriously ill in Capernaum, and the man asked him to come with him to heal his son, saying ‘he is on the point of death’.
Jesus turned to him, testing him. “You courtiers,” he said. “Unless you see signs and wonders you just will not believe.”
The man replied simply, “Sir. Please come with me before my child dies.”
“Go your way,” answered Jesus. “Your son lives.”
The man believed what Jesus had said and went back to Capernaum, and as he was on his way home his servants met him and said, “Your son is alive.” Then he asked them what time it was when the recovery began, and they replied, “The fever left him yesterday at seven.” Then the father knew that his son had recovered at the exact moment when Jesus had told him, “your son lives”.
Meanwhile Jesus moved on to Nazareth, his home town, and in accordance with his usual practise went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to give the reading.
He was handed the scroll of Isaiah, and opening the scroll he found the place where it said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to restore those who are bruised in spirit, and to proclaim God’s accepted time.”
Having read this aloud he handed the scroll back to the minister and sat down. Everone’s eyes were glued on him. Then he went on, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled even as you listen.”
They drank it in and said nice things about him and were amazed at his gracious words. But then their attitude changed. “Isn’t this only Joseph’s son?” they asked each other.
So he said to them. “I am sure you will say to me, ‘Doctor, heal yourself. Do here what we have heard you did at Capernaum’. Well, I tell you truly, no prophet is accepted in his own locality.”
“Don’t you remember how there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens remained closed for three and a half years, and the land was gripped by a great famine. But Elijah was sent only to a widow in Sarepta, in Sidon (a foreign country).”
“There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, but the only one who came to be healed was Naaman the Syrian.”
When the synagogue congregation heard this they were filled with fury, and forming a lynch mob, they led him out to the edge of the cliff on which the town was built, to throw him over. But in the end something about him prevented them, and walking through the maddened crowd he went his way.
He returned to Capernaum, another town in Galilee, where he had previously preached and practised spiritual healing, and he taught in their synagogue Sabbath by Sabbath, and they were amazed at what he taught, for he spoke as an authority.
In the synagogue one day was a man who was possessed by an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “Leave us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him.” And when the spirit had thrown the man to the floor, it left him and did him no further harm. This amazed the people even more, and they said, “How powerful his word is. He commands even the unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.” So his fame went everywhere.