One of the most famous sermons ever delivered was given by Jesus, himself. It’s called the Sermon on the Mount and it contains the Beatitudes. Jesus describes his followers in this sermon. Last week we took a look at the first Beatitude. You can find that blog post here. To listen to the sermon this blog post refers to go here.
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5 1-10
Let’s look at these blessings as 2 groups of 4. The first 3 deal with loss, with an absence. Jesus is placing a blessing on those who have been emptied.
Our emphasis today was on verses 4-6. In verse 4, Jesus says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Mourning doesn’t mean what I would normally think when considering mourning. I would think of mourning the loss of a loved one, but I think it goes much deeper here. Jesus is talking about grief that can’t be hidden. In that grief, he will comfort us, not leave us in our loss. Jesus speaks here of our sinfulness. He places a blessing over those who have been emptied, who have been broken.
Do you take ownership of your sins? Until recently, there were sins that I hadn’t acknowledged. Things that didn’t seem like sins. But then it hit me, if I am drawing a conclusion about someone or something, I’m judging them. That’s not my place. I am to love like Jesus loves. This was something I had to acknowledge to God.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Verse 5 addresses meekness. When we look at this word from the perspective of the Greek language, it can mean balance, submission (controlled by God) and humility. It’s interesting to see that those who are humble, allow God to define them and defend them. We see this when God defends Moses against Aaron and Miriam when they questioned what made Moses’ prophecies better than anyone else’s. (See Numbers 12:1-9 for the details.)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” In verse 6, the hunger and thirst is not for food. God placed in us a longing that can only be filled by his Spirit. But, so often we try to fill the longing with whatever is easy and accessible.
So far we’ve learned that those who realize they are spiritually empty and are broken or grieve over that without trying to justify or defend it and call out to Jesus will find fulfilment. From their emptiness they will hunger for righteousness. Each of the steps leads to the next and they lead us closer to the promises in Christ.
This sermon series is opening my eyes to the Beatitudes in a way I’ve never looked at them before. I look forward to Sunday for the next sermon!