Matthew 5:1-12 NIRV
Jesus Teaches the Disciples and Crowds
5 Jesus saw the crowds. So he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to teach them.
Jesus Gives Blessings
3 “Blessed are those who are spiritually needy.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
4 Blessed are those who are sad.
They will be comforted.
5 Blessed are those who are humble.
They will be given the earth.
6 Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right.
They will be filled.
7 Blessed are those who show mercy.
They will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are those whose hearts are pure.
They will see God.
9 Blessed are those who make peace.
They will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11 “Blessed are you when people make fun of you and hurt you because of me. You are also blessed when they tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 Be joyful and glad. Your reward in heaven is great. In the same way, people hurt the prophets who lived long ago.
Objects for Message:
A cartoon image of a bee (or a small version to hand to each child).
Photos (some of recognizable people; i.e., Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; some of “everyday” people, such as church members who are saints in the life of your church, but perhaps not as recognizable to the children as the others).
Did you know that Jesus was teacher? But he didn’t teach a language like English or Spanish. He didn’t teach history, science, or physical education. Jesus taught his disciples how to serve God joyfully. Today’s scripture passage is called the Beatitudes. Simply put, Jesus teaches his disciples and us how to “be” in life. He teaches us how to have the right attitude as a Jesus follower!
The words that begin this passage, “Blessed are”, begin one of the most famous passages in the Bible. This passage is called the Sermon on the Mount because it is said that Jesus spoke these words to the disciples while they were sitting on the mountainside.
When Jesus began, “Blessed are those who . . .”, he taught the disciples (and us!) that God cares in a special way for those whose spirits are beaten down by cruel people or by hard times. He meant that God feels great kindness toward those who are humble. Do you know what humble means? (Allow children to respond.). Sometimes we might get too proud for our own good. Being humble means that we don’t brag or show off and try to make us look better than we are. Being humble means that we aren’t cocky. He meant that God showers love upon those who are sad, show mercy, make peace, do what’s right, and have a pure heart. “The kingdom of heaven belongs to them,” Jesus said.
In our world, we often admire people who are famous, people who have a lot of money, and people who are beautiful and talented. But Jesus reminds us that God sees the world in a different way. God loves all people but has a special place for those who have the right attitude.
As a reminder, I have this picture of a bee. (Or hand out a small picture to each child to take home as a daily reminder of how to “bee.”) This bee reminds us of Jesus’ teachings, and the Beatitudes remind us of how we should “be” as followers of Jesus.
I also have several pictures of people. I would like to play a game with you. I will show you a photograph, and I want you to tell me how they followed Jesus’ teachings of the Beatitudes.
(The examples of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. are provided here. Feel free to choose two different examples that would work best in your context.)
Here is the first photograph. (Show a photo of Abraham Lincoln.) Do any of you recognize this person? (Allow children to respond.) I wonder which Beatitude Honest Abe Lincoln might have lived out. (Allow children to answer.)
Here is the second photograph. (Show a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr.) Do any of you recognize this person? (Allow children to respond.) I wonder which Beatitude this peaceful leader of equality might have lived out. (Allow children to respond.)
Here is the next photograph. (Show photo of a saint from your local congregation. Some children may recognize the person, but others may not.). Do you recognize this person? (Allow children to respond.) I wonder which Beatitude this person might have lived out. (Allow children to respond.)
(Offer a second “saint” from your church.) Here is another photograph. (Show the photo of a saint from your local congregation. Some children may recognize the person, but others may not.) Do you recognize this person? (Allow children to respond.) I wonder which Beatitude this person might have lived out. (Allow children to respond.)
Today is All Saints Day. In the United Methodist Church, on All Saints Day, we remember and honor people who have affected our lives by modeling what a life of following Jesus and loving God looks like. They have shown us the attitude that we need to have in our daily walk with Jesus! We should look to them to remind us of how we should “bee.”
I would like you to think of one such saint in your life as we pray as a way of honoring the impact their lives have had on us. Then as we conclude our prayer, remember that saint by living the life that they taught us. A life filled with the love for God and following Jesus!
God of all saints, thank you for caring for those who need you so much. On this day, and every other day, give me the eyes to see and “bee” the world that you see. Give me the eyes to see and “bee” the world that the saints saw. Give us the hands and feet to “bee” to all the world that needs to experience God’s love. Give us the attitude to “bee” and live Jesus’ teachings. Amen.