Poor. Mourning. Meek. Hungry. Thirsty.
What a sad state to be in. Or is it? The description is not finished.
Merciful. Pure. Peaceful.
Such qualities we admire and associate with love. And then there is the conclusion.
According to Christ, these words describe a person who is blessed, composing what we know as the beatitudes in Matthew 5.
How can all of these characteristics be connected? Can we describe ourselves this way – or perhaps more importantly – do we want to?
The wisdom of Christ our Lord is often nestled in beautiful paradoxes, and that is exactly what is happening in this portion of His Sermon on the Mount.
In the human tradition we are told to be wealthy, to be independent, to be happy, to be proud, to be satiated. Yet if we admit it, rather than fulfill us, this pursuit empties us. Rather than free us, this traps us in insecurity. Rather than refresh us, this exhausts.
As I’ve been studying Jesus’ words a common thread appears to exist between His beatitudes, humility. Humility before God.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth…
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…
Jesus asserts that the blessed are those in spiritual dependency (poor). Those honest about their wrongdoing (mourning). Those thoughtful and righteous in their actions (meek), and always yearning for truth (hungry and thirsty). Why? All of this leads us to God Himself. A place of rest and peace.
The blessed are humble, satisfied in the infinite majesty of their Creator and made complete in His love.God treasures those who are humble before Him. Click To Tweet
The beatitudes are a road filled with trust, loving sacrifice, and growth, as His Will brings about hearts of mercy, purity, and peace. In the face of affliction and scoffing (persecution), joy remains in the promise of heaven.
The beauty of the beatitudes also stems from the glory of the cross. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, saw the broken and rebellious state of every man and woman, and took the wrath each one deserved.
He was poor in nature, mourning over mankind’s disobedience, gentle and discerning in His teaching, and eager to honor His Father in righteousness. He looked upon every soul with mercy as the nails dug into his hands and feet, His own life pure from sin. His breath was taken by persecution, but His heart alive with joy in the resurrection.
Jesus was the beatitudes. He will be blessed for eternity.
We look His extraordinary demonstration of sacrifice, and amazing enough it is the means for us to become blessed.
When we look at the cross, it becomes clear what it means to be blessed.
By trusting in Christ, the beatitudes become real. We receive the ability to receive blessing as we welcome salvation and the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.
I’ve been drawn to the piece by Hillsong, called Touch the Sky. It sings of the radical way of God’s Kingdom, the antithesis to the world.
“I touch the sky… when my knees hit the ground. I found my life… when I laid it down.”
How hard it was for me to wrap my mind around this! May Jesus guide you in this wonderful truth.
P.S. I also recommend this sermon by John Piper.