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.
And yet many ask, how can such an arrangement of characteristics be connected? If one is seeking peace, is she to be poor? Is one is to be merciful, is she to be in mourning?
As I’ve been studying Jesus’ words in Matthew 5, a common thread appears to exist between His beatitudes, humility. Humility before God.
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. And where does that take us but down an exhausting, egocentric, and empty road?
Jesus, however, asserts that the most blessed are those in spiritual dependency (poor), honest about their wrongdoing (mourning), thoughtful in their actions (meek), and always yearning for truth (hungry and thirsty). The blessed are in a place of humility, acknowledging the infinite majesty of their Creator and desperate need for His love. In their weakness, His power is allowed to work.
There is 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 from those apart from this road (persecution), joy remains in the promise of heaven.
The humility of the beatitudes 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 innocent of sin. His breath was taken by persecution, but His heart alive with joy in the resurrection. He was the beatitudes. He will be blessed for eternity.
We look at that 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.
I’ve been drawn to the newer 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.