True Happiness. 5:1-12
The Beatitudes are a declaration of the happy, or fortunate state, of the child of God who possesses particular qualities, and who, because of them, inherit divine blessings. Of course, only Jesus properly possesses these qualities, but when we identify with him they become ours as well.
v1-2. The description of Jesus going "up on a mountainside" probably images Moses going up Mount Sinai to receive the law - Jesus is the new law-giver who comes to complete ("fulfill") the law. Although a crowd has gathered, Jesus moves up the mountainside to speak with his disciples.
v3. Fortunate are you, the humble ones. Such people are not the "poor" in this world's things. Jesus is speaking of the person who is broken before God. This person throws themselves on the mercy of God, they put their trust in him, depend on him. They stand in contrast to the "wicked". It is the humble who possess the kingdom of God.
v4. Fortunate are you who mourn over the damage and loss caused by sin. Those who weep for such loss will be comforted with God's intimate love.
v5. Fortunate are you who rely on God for vindication. Those who do not try to take for themselves, but rather rely on God to fulfill his promises, will inherit the promised land (eternity), Ps.37:11.
v6. Fortunate are you who desire to stand approved in the sight of God. Those who desire to be right before God will indeed find ultimate satisfaction in their relationship with Him.
v7. Fortunate are you who know God's mercy, and in that mercy find that they can show mercy to others.
v8. Fortunate are you who desire to know God, to love him, for in that desire you will find him.
v9. Fortunate are you who are at peace with God.
v10. Fortunate are you who find yourselves confronted by the darkness of this age. The world may reject the child of God, but suffering only evidences a far greater treasure, God's eternal kingdom.
v11-12. This saying is not part of the beatitudes, rather it is an application of the last beatitude and is applied directly to the disciples. Abuse and slander was the lot of Jesus and a believer vicariously shares in Christ's suffering, and sometimes actually experiences it. Either way, eternity transcends the troubles of this mortal coil.
No one is worthless in Christ
A young man was recently sent to jail for manslaughter. He and his friends had decided to go into the city and punch people indiscriminately as they met them on the street. One person, just in town to visit a friend, was hit in the face, fell back and broke his scull. He died on the way to hospital. The young man who went to jail was actually under a good behavior court order, but good behavior was not on his agenda that night.
Criminologists tell us that this type of behavior can often be traced back to the person's early childhood. It's then they learn that they are worthless, of no value, useless; low self-esteem erodes humanity. If we don't love ourselves then we can't love others.
No person has perfect self-worth; all of us feel that we are less than we could be. We are all aware of our limitations, our failings, our guilts, our fears. When its all said and done, what value have we?
Next, when that dark mood presses in, that little touch of the black dog, it's worth remembering how Jesus views us. On the side of that mountain all those years ago, gathered with his disciples, Jesus pointedly told them how God viewed them. Here they were, simple working class people, fishermen and the like, who had decided to trust Jesus for their eternal salvation. As Jesus' friends, willingly standing with Jesus, God now viewed them as Jesus himself: humble minded, sorrowing, claiming nothing, hungry and thirsty for goodness, merciful, utterly sincere, at peace, confronted. So Jesus said to them, "blessed are you in the sight of God." How blessed, you might ask? The kingdom is theirs, comfort, the whole earth, satisfaction, mercy, the presence of God, loved of God, heaven itself. Everything was theirs.
The beatitudes describe the nature of a true child of God. They describe the attitude, the inner makeup of God's true Son, and by implication, the Son's disciples. Fortunate is the person who is like this for they will see (both now and in the future) the glory of God. The beatitudes describe the God viewed qualities of those who serve with the King of Kings. Blessed are those who, in Christ, possess such qualities.
So, next time the black dog strikes, remember who you are in Christ.
Happy are those who are broken before God. Why is this so?
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