are taught to memorize these verses. In the world of those who memorize
Scripture, this is an adult favorite as well. We shall see that by these words
our Lord encourages us to live the life of a true Christian, servant to the
Servant King. We shall hope to give these small virtues their due.
Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His
disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began
to teach them, saying, "Blessed are the poor in
spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed
are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the
(Mat 5:1-5 NASB)
teachers prefer to skip the first two verses, so glorious is the wealth that
follows. But all Scripture is profitable; we shall mine what we can.
saw the crowds; crowds that had heard of his miracles and followed along.
Notice, please, that Jesus the Healer went to the people, like an old fashioned
doctor making house calls. Now the crowd follows him. So He accommodates them
again, going up the mountain to find a natural amphitheater .
then sits down. It is a sign of authority; in those days, the teacher sat
while the students stood. But this is no sign of pride; notice please that
Jesus could have sat in the market place. It would have greatly amplified his
popularity. Christ chose the mountain, not the marketplace.
with these preliminaries, the disciples come to Him. They seem to know that He
is about to say something important.
when all these things are arranged does He open His mouth. The NIV omits this,
thinking it an ancient flourish of language. It is not. For its clear
implication is that He has not been teaching them by word, but by example.
Christ instructs us by word – and also in silence.
follows begins with the word, “Blessed.” Kindly note that this is indicative,
not imperative. Christ, the lover of my soul, woos me with blessings. He
places no restriction upon the blessing of God; not “certain people” or
“some” but all. See how open are the arms of God, reaching to the furthest
and least! The word translated here as “blessed” means one who is “supremely
– verse 3
picks an interesting word for “poor.” It is a word picture of someone
cringing. The word is used of beggars who must cringe before their benefactors
to obtain some coins. This is humility that sees us as beggars who have no
merit before God, and therefore must beg in all humility.
may contrast this with the “rich in spirit.” This is the man who walks in his
own pride and merit. If you can picture the beggar, you can picture the
gentleman who walks by; a potential source of revenue to the beggar – if only
your cringing humility is visible enough.
may clear up one confusion: this refers to those who are the poor in spirit
by choice. It’s something you decide to do. This is not about those who have
been humbled by life’s experiences; it’s the one who is humbled by choice.
That’s the one who sees himself as he is; and knows who God is – and trembles
at the difference.
first blessing is opposed to the first sin: pride. Satan first sinned by
pride, for he said he would be like God. It is also the sin of Adam; for
Satan lured him with the promise that he (Adam) would be like God. Here is the
evil of all evils – and our defense is humility.
kingdom of heaven
then, is this blessing? In many ways Christ describes it; may I bring to your
mind but three?
is the pearl of great price.
It is beyond all that we can do; it will cost us everything to obtain –
and when we are blessed by it, we rejoice.
is the landowner who paid all of his laborers alike.
It seems unfair; grace is like that. There will be those we see in the
kingdom who have done so much; others, so little – and all are welcome.
is the wheat and the weeds – a kingdom which has its hypocrites and
Why would mourning be blessed? It is simply the outward expression of the
poverty of spirit. It is public notice that you are indeed what you claim to
be: a child of God – in godly sorrow.
sorrow? Paul explains it this way:
the sorrow that is according to the will
of God produces a repentance without
regret, leading to salvation, but the
sorrow of the world produces death.
(2Co 7:10 NASB)
you see it? You should mourn that which is wrong:
indeed for your sins; regret and repent.
we are taught,
we are to mourn the sins of our church, our people, our nation.
our Lord give us an example of this? Indeed:
is the Man of Sorrows – weeping over the grave of Lazarus.
is also the Messiah – mourning over the intransigence of Jerusalem.
the purpose of this mourning? Comfort. So that we might receive from Him and
His people that arm around the shoulder that is sometimes the only solace that
works. We mourn – and He comforts us.
can’t repay that – but we can pass it along. His comfort is given to us so
that we may comfort others.
And – even greater – this mourning will come to an end. It will be turned to
joy at His return.
is difficult to define this word in our time. It is related to humility. Perhaps
we can pick up its meaning from the instances which written in the Scripture;
tells us that His yoke is gentle.
What is the load that our Lord has given you – without His comfort and
strength? He shares our burdens; so we should share the burdens of
the Triumphal Entry Christ told those around Him that He was coming in
meekness, riding on a donkey.
It is the entry of the King in peace, not the conqueror in way. The King
of Kings comes in peace even today;
is also said to be an ornament of the Christian women.
is best seen in its absence today. For meekness is not presumptuous – we do
not claim that our being a Christian puts us, by rights, next to Christ. On
the contrary, we are not “me and Jesus in the phone booth,” we are those who
see Him as He is (or will) – and know from this who is God (and more
importantly, who is not.)
the opposite of meekness might well be said to be self-seeking. We hear much
about obtaining our rights. Jesus Christ did not come to get His rights. He
came to get His wrongs – and I am so blessed that He did.
is simply this: the meek and gentle do not trust their own power, wisdom and
ability. James put it this way:
now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city,
and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you
do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and
then vanishes away. Instead, you ought
to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
(Jam 4:13-15 NASB)
Getty’s rejoinder (“the meek shall inherit the earth – but not the mineral
rights.”) it is promised from of old that the earth – this terrestrial ball –
will go to the children of God.
Only in Revelation do we see the details of the promise: the New Heaven and
the New Earth.
Meekness must be important to the Christian – for at least there is a grand
reward for it.
construction of this lesson was an emotional thing. I came to the end of the
preparation knowing that something more must be said. So let me ask you three
the church teach – both in word and action – the virtue of humility? Or
is it just an obsolete thought, no longer appropriate for the modern
church? Consider well: the church is not the preacher, nor the teacher.
The church is us.
it not the case that the sorrow that leads to repentance is the sole and
exclusive property of movements like Celebrate Recovery? Outside that,
where do we lead the church into godly sorrow and repentance?
it be said that the men of the church are gentle and meek? Can it be said
of the women? Do we not (especially for women) teach exactly the
opposite? What would gentleness and meekness do for the typical Christian