The Beatitudes (Blessed 3&4)
In review, we concluded from the first two verses that Jesus has disciples that follow Him no matter where He goes, and that He takes the time to teach those who seek after Him.
And Jesus begins His earthly ministry by teaching His disciples about what God is looking for in people – people He wants to recruit for the Kingdom of Heaven. He wants the disciples to clearly understand that this Kingdom is the antithesis of any earthly kingdom they had ever heard of or experienced.
Where the kingdoms of earth used their authority and power to oppress, steal from, and abuse those subject to them, the Kingdom of Heaven would be made up of a King who would not force His subjects to submit to Him. In fact the King wants people to willingly choose to be part of His Kingdom. And in order to choose, a person has to realize that his sins against the King are enough to keep him out of the Kingdom. In order to enter the Kingdom, he has to humbly confess his sins to the King, and in doing so, the King grants him a pardon.
Jesus says in the 1st two beatitudes that the Kingdom will be made up of people who humbly mourn – who humbly regret having sinned against the King. And in their humility, they choose to admit this to Him. He makes it clear that the Kingdom of Heaven will be made up of people who are sorry for hurting the King.
Now let’s look at Beatitudes 3 & 4.
Verse 5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
We often hear people say that to be meek means you are weak – a doormat for people to step on. Yet Jesus says it is blessed to be meek, and then He goes on and says that those who are will inherit the earth.
To us that seems completely contradictory. We know what we see. We know what we have felt. The bully always seems to win out.
I remember in 6th grade picking up some coins that some other kids had thrown down while waiting for the bus. There was a thug nearby that grabbed me by the collar and told me to handover the coins I had collected. That day I was a doormat and I handed over the coins. I certainly didn’t inherit the earth in my meekness and innocence at that time, nor have I since.
I think all of us can say through our experience that it’s not the meek in this world, on this earth, that assumes authority here. In fact, it seems, and is for certain, that the proud, the arrogant, the greedy, the bully, are often the ones who have control of the things of this earth.
So what is Jesus talking about – the meek shall inherit the earth? Again, if we look at His words literally, we miss the point. And His point is not that the meek shall inherit the earth of today. Instead they shall inherit an earth of the future.
In Revelation 21:1 the apostle John shares what God shows him will take place at the judgment of Satan and humankind – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away ….”
Jesus was giving His disciples this Big Idea: Seek to be meek; there’s a new earth awaiting you.
Jesus was telling His disciples in His sermon that God is looking for those who are humble, who mourn over their sin against God, and who are meek. These, not the all-powerful bully who uses his authority to rule and dominate over those who are weaker, shall see the new Heaven and the new Earth. It is these who will one day experience true peace and eternity with God.
You see; if people knew and understood what Jesus taught about the Kingdom of Heaven in the 30’s and 40’s, they wouldn’t have followed a nut, an antichrist, called Adolf Hitler. Hitler claimed to be Christian, and was purging the earth of those he felt were a detriment to Christian Dom, yet his actions were completely the opposite of what Jesus taught. Hitler, though he believed he was fulfilling God’s call to rid the earth of evil, was the antithesis of Jesus and will not see the new heaven or the new earth.
In fact, everything Hitler ever wanted to accomplish was fulfilled here on this earth, and now his final eternal destination is Hell – certainly not very appealing. His heaven, while alive, was here on earth. Whereas, those in Christ know that their only taste of hell will be here on this earth, and heaven awaits them. Hitler’s situation went from not very good to God-awful bad. The Christian’s situation, those who truly are followers of Christ, goes from not very good to God-inspiring great.
So why does humankind play with fire?
In verse 6 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
What do you do when you get hungry, or thirsty? If like me, you go looking for something to eat or drink. After all, food and water are staples needed for survival. But, if you get the urge and decide to stay where you are, the food and drink don’t come to you (unless you have a servant). If you want it, you have to go find it.
The same is true of righteousness. You want righteousness, you can have it – you can have all you want. Jesus will spiritually fill everyone that wants what He has to give.
So Jesus’ Big Idea from this verse is this: The Righteous Food Bell has been rung; Come and get it!
If we want to eat, we have to make the choice to get out of our seats and prepare something to eat. If we want to know Christ and His righteousness, we have to make a choice to pursue Him.
How do we pursue Him? Go to Common Unity Groups, read or listen to the Bible daily, hang with mentors who are more spiritually mature, ask questions about faith, listen to Christian music and teaching, meditate and pray over the things Jesus tells you are righteous, be faithful in worship, serve Him and others, and most importantly, apply what you learn.
Jesus says we can have anything RIGHTEOUS we want. With no questions asked, He will give it to us. Seeking righteousness will be 100% return on your investment. God may say “no” to some things we ask for because they are not part of His will. But righteousness is His will so you can be guaranteed that when you ask for patience He will give it to you – when you ask God to teach you to be merciful and forgiving, He will – when you ask God for self-control, and compassion, and faithfulness, and goodness, and humility, and ……., He will give them to you.
In conclusion, the new earth awaits those who are meek. It will be a struggle while we are here on this earth because there will always be those who will try to lord their strengths and powers over us. Yet if we want meekness, if we want humility, if we want to be like Christ, all we have to do is desire this kind of food and it will be given to us.
Faith in Christ doesn’t come while we sit in our easy chairs asking everyone else around us to bring us food or to bring us drink. Faith in Christ comes when we get up out of our chairs to seek and to serve Him. As always, the choice is up to you.