In chapters 5 through 7 of the book of Matthew we come across one of Jesus’ most famous sermons. It’s called, “The Sermon on the Mount.” In these three chapters we find some of the basic principles of living life as a child of God in His kingdom. It examines our lives from “the inside-out.” The first eight verses of that sermon are called “The Beatitudes.” They reveal the fundamental attitudes of having a humble heart, something that seems so often missing in these days in which we live.
They begin by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit are those who recognize their own spiritual poverty and their need for God. They’ve found true blessing is found in trusting God and seeking to know Him.
We then read, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” It is those who are mourning and grieving who are often the very ones who will experience the comfort of the Lord himself, for He draws near to the brokenhearted and binds-up their wounds.
The third beatitude teaches us, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” It is not the proud or the bullies who win in the end, but rather those who are meek. The meek are those who find their strength in God. They have strength under control (His control). In their humility before God they have learned to trust Him, and they will also inherit His blessings.
Next we read, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” These are those who sincerely seek to know God and to do what is right and pleasing to Him. They find that the deepest desires of their heart are satisfied in knowing Him. Psalm 34:7 puts it this way, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The fifth beatitude says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” They are the ones who have learned to put others ahead of themselves and to show mercy and kindness to others. The compassion and love which they’ve shown to others will be reciprocated.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” The pure in heart are those who are “sincere,” (literally, “without wax”). Some objects made of marble had flaws filled-in with wax, However, when the sun hit them the wax would melt, revealing the flaw, (like hypocrisy). The pure in heart (those who are sincere and genuine) will see God.
The next beatitude says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” These are the ones who have learned to represent Christ well (as His children) by helping others to reconcile with God and one another, resulting in much joy.
Finally we read, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. These are those who have suffered wrongly. They’ve been punished for doing what was right. But their joy comes from identifying with Christ and experiencing the fellowship of sharing in His suffering.
As we consider the ministry of Christ, we see that it was often the poor, the needy and the brokenhearted who responded to his ministry. He chooses to bless the weak, the gentle and humble in heart who trust him, for His glory.
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church and Lemon Cove Community Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.