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These twelve verses are known as the Beatitudes, and each one could have its own book; however, my goal is to write a quick post and not a set of books. So, if it seems that I am gliding over these verses, I apologize. The first set of people Jesus tells is blessed are those who are the poor in spirit. The Greek word translated as poor can refer to wealth and also to a lack of knowledge. It seems to reflect the person who is in a position that they cannot get out of themselves without a helping hand. Their promise is the kingdom of God. The next set of people are the ones who mourn and they are promised comfort. The next set of people are the meek, and the Greek used here could also be translated as gentle. Jesus promised that they would inherit the whole earth. The next people Jesus mentions are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (the NLT translates it as justice; however, looking at the Greek definition righteousness fits the context better). We are told that they will be satisfied.
Jesus mentions those who show mercy will also receive mercy. I just think of how the book of Matthew tells the story of Jesus' parents and how His own mother was shown mercy from His father, Joseph. The next set of people Jesus mentions are the pure in heart. This is such an interesting one that I want to stop and take note because it is a little gem. The Greek word, katharos is translated as pure and can mean without sin or blemish, but its first definition is the process of purification such as being refined in fire. Within that first definition it can also elude to the pruning away of branches so the vine can bear more fruit. So, I just want to say that this is so beautiful because the purifying of our hearts is not done by us, but by God. The promise to the pure in heart is that they will see God. What a wonderful promise!
Those who work for peace will be called the children of God. And then Jesus talks about those who are persecuted for doing what is right and for what they believe. These people are promised the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus actually tells us that we can rejoice in the persecution because there is a great reward for those who endure the persecution. They are in the company of the ancient prophets! These verses are so full of encouragement and promise. The wonderful thing is that notice the first people that are mentioned are those who know that they are in a position that they need help. Of course, in particular help from God. This is first and foremost the place in which we all start on our journey, isn't it? If we cannot recognize that we need a Savior, then the journey will never take place. But once we know and understand our plight, we can call out to God and ask Him to rescue us from our sin. How wonderful and beautiful our Creator is!
Are you encouraged by these beautiful promises? Are you challenged to ask for God's help to change?
This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.