Posted September 09, 2013
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This is week 2 of 3 as we memorize the Beatitudes together from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Blessed are the merciful
Mercy is a demonstration of compassion for those in need. Those who experience God’s mercy should naturally give away mercy... How could they not? On the flip-side, those who don’t show mercy must not be citizens of his kingdom! A lack of mercy is evidence of those who have not received it in the first place. May the Father of mercy who sent us Jesus fill us with His Spirit that we might overflow with mercy toward all who need it. Those who give mercy, shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart
Jesus may have had Ezekiel 36 in mind, or perhaps Psalm 24 as he spoke on purity of heart, but this most likely has to do with a single-mindedness and not simply an inner purity. The one with the pure heart is not one with a divided heart, but is committed to one thing: namely, God. Kierkegaard said purity of heart “is to will one thing.” What do you desire above all else? What do you crave? Daydream about? Worry the most about? Give the majority of your energy to? The pure in heart “see him now with the eye of faith and see his glory in the hereafter, for only the utterly sincere can bear the dazzling vision in whose light the darkness of deceit must vanish and by whose fire all shams are burned up (Stott).”
Blessed are the peacemakers
Not only is God merciful and are His children to be merciful, but God is a God of peace and His children are to be those who spread peace as well. God’s peacemaking is seen most clearly as He sent His Son Jesus to make peace with sinners through His death on the cross. This peace was not cheap, but rather cost Him His life! We are to join God is his heart for reconciliation and peacemaking... A couple practical ways we can do this is to seek unity where there is division in the church of Jesus (amongst individuals, racial groups, etc.) as well as be active in evangelism and being witnesses to those outside of the church. May we declare the Good News that God extends peace to those who put their trust in His Son Jesus. What are these peacemakers called by Jesus? Sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake
Ironically the thing Christians are to hunger and thirst after is the very thing they are persecuted for four verses later. Although we seek out peace, sometimes peace is not possible. John Stott calls persecution “the clash between two irreconcilable value-systems.” Where the values of the kingdom of God are at war with the value of our culture, we find ourselves in a predicament. While we value peace, we don’t value peace with man over peace with God. Where God calls us to humble obedience, so we follow, even when it means persecution! God repeats His promise here that He gave to those who are poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Song - The D. Whitfield Ensemble (feat. Chris Clark)
Artwork - Chris Wright