I remember reading about the high level of interest in the Sermon on the Mount. And the Beatitudes at the start of that sermon are also quite well known.
Each of the beatitudes start with a blessing. And that is probably the most fascinating aspect of it all.
In the beatitudes there are certain groups of people who are picked out by the Lord. Then he redefines them ('theirs is the kingdom of heaven'). Or he predicts that something will happen to them ('they shall inherit the earth').
That all comes from the word 'blessing'. The verb 'to bless' is connected to power. And you see that in the creation account.
God creates a group, and then he blesses that group and says, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.' Then that group receives the power to fill the earth and multiply.
But that is not the end of the story. The creation account moves to an even higher point on the seventh day. God ends up blessing that day.
How can someone bless a day? Does it glow on the calendar? Do you automatically feel special on that day? Obviously not.
The progression within the beatitudes also moves to a higher point near the end. The final two (if you count the last 'blessed' that is directly spoken to those who are listening: 'Blessed are YOU....'), these beatitudes are for those who are persecuted. The contrast within the very last one is stirring: When people insult you, persecute you, and utter all kinds of evil against you, what are you to do? Rejoice and be glad.
That's what the bible says. More exactly, that is what Jesus says.
He is the true source of the blessing. The tough thing is to stay with him all the way through. There is a lot of power being pushed around. Sometimes some of that is even being done by Jesus. There is a certain amount of blessing that comes with power, but it does not last.
Jesus on the cross is not a picture of power. That is a picture of love. That is a true picture of blessing. He did not glow; he probably did not feel very special. But that is true blessing being given out. Because he says so.