Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Beattitudes

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In Bonhoeffer’s classic work The Cost of Discipleship he begins his concluding thoughts on the beatitudes with the following words,

Having reached the end of the beatitudes, we naturally ask if there is any place of this earth for the community which they describe. Clearly, there is one place, and only one, and that is where the poorest, meekest, and most sorely tried of all men is to be found – on the cross at Golgotha. The fellowship of the beatitudes is the fellowship of the Crucified. With him it has lost all, and with him it has found all. From the cross there comes the call ‘blessed, blessed.'” (113-114).

Notice he does not say the community is found “at” the cross “on” Golgotha, rather he says, “on” the cross “at” Golgotha. If we flip those two words we miss the whole point. Would we do better to sing, “On the cross, on the cross where I first saw the light and the burdens of my heart rolled away…”? Faith comes standing at the cross, discipleship comes on it. Why else would Jesus say, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34). Once we live out the cross in our day to day lives we will know that we really are Christ-followers. Our approach to the cross makes the difference between accepting Jesus as Savior and accepting him as Lord.

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