the men that you see before you today are poor, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty men. They are deisciples of Jesus and are appointed over you to lead you in the ways of Jesus. The broken, blessed way. And their deepest desire is to lead you to Jesus Christ. That this whole church is characterized by these words.
This broken, selfless, present and future blessedness should be clearly seen int his church. Do we see it? Or do we hide our poverty, see pain and tears as something that unsettles the unity of church, humility or meekness as weakness, and hunger and thirst for righteousness as being too zealous?
If we are following Jesus this will be a reality. And a blessed reality. Something that others will want. Who does not want a community where you can express your complete poverty in Spirit and not be judged or laughed at? Where you can weep and mourn over your and others wrongs and not be told to stop it. Where all the people are humble seeking the interest of the other, where people are pursuing not the rights of the majority, the influential, the powerful – but the righteousness of God.
Jesus has walked this road and so opened it up for us. We live out this live only in unity and oneness with him. These things will become more concrete and real the more completely you as disciples dedicate yourselves to service in the way that it is illustrated here.
A broken and selfless blessedness looking forward to a perfect future blessedness.
- Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
- And blessed are the Merciful for they will be shown mercy
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
I hope up to this point you have seen the connections. The poor in spirit recognize their poverty on every level. But also, the poverty of humanity.. This recognition of poverty has led to a prayerful mourning as one recognizes continually the truth of the cross of Christ and therein finds comfort. Which leads us to the third beatitude
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. This beatitude is almost a direct quotation form psalm 37:11 “The meek shall possess the land.” It is interesting that we read in Numbers 12:3, “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the men that were on the face of the earth.” Moses was a meek man. He was called the meekest man on earth! If the promise of Psalm 37 applied to anyone you would think it applies to him! Did he inherit the land? No, not at the point when Israel went in.The meekest man before Jesus could not enter the land, because Jesus alone could open up the land for his people – the land of promise – the resurrection land.
For Jesus himself said to his followers, “take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly of heart.” Christ is the fulfillment of all that Moses was supposed to be.
The Old Testament talks about poor king, a meek king. As we read in Zechariah 9:9-10, “Behold your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious, humble (or meek) and riding on a donkey… he will cut off the chariot from Ephraim.” The passage announced a poor king whose rule does not depend on worldly power or on political or military might. No, he comes riding on a lowly donkey. It is the exact opposite of the world’s kings. That is the call to elders today! IS there a deep humility in all you do. Is there the desire to become less so that Christ may become more?
This word meek embodiesthe essence of Christ kingship – lived out in humility - exalted in glory. A broken selfless blessed. He humbled himself even to the point of becoming a human, and if that was not enough, even to the point of a servant, and if that wasn’t enough even to the point of death, and if that was not enough even to the point of death on a cross! But it was because of this that he was victorious and opened up the promised land of the new heavens and new earth through his resurrection body for all who are found in him.
How low will you go? How great will you huble yourself to show even one of these sheep the love of Christ. We as Christians but especially leaders are truly called to give our lives.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. It is exactly what James says, “Humble yourself and you will be lifted up.” Indeed, only those who are humbled will be lifted and will inherit the kingdom along with the king. As Zechariah goes on to say, “he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea and from river to the ends of the earth.” This kingdom will be to the ends of the earth. This is about entering into a new life that begins here in being broken, in being humble of heart - but will one day lead to all things being made new! A heaven and earth a home of righteous.
I think the best commentary on this verse is given by Matthew himself in the end of his book in Chapter 25:34ff Jesus says, “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
That is humility – not doing anything for fame and glory not even recognizing what you are doing – but simply doing it because that is who you are – you simply consider the life’s of others as important as yours. So you say, “‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”
And what is the kings or Jesus reaction to people who live this way, Beautiful words of promise, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” This kingdom is ready – it is prepared – and it is coming. Dear church – meekness is not weakness – it is holy humility that does not grasp for power, or influence but seeks to serve and be the lowest. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up. And one day hear the words of your king, Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the kingdom. Inherit the land. This is the goal of the journey as it was the day Israel left Egypt. It was not enough that they left the land of slavery – but God was bringing them to his promised land.
You see the land was always the goal – This was always the final destination. Joshua could not give them the land, because he couldn’t get rid of sin. Only Jesus the new Joshua could do that. We are still waiting for its ultimate reality – In Christ it is assured, but we will only ultimately enter it when every last one of our brothers and sisters can enter it with us. Then heaven earth will belong to the people of God. Heaven and earth will belong to the meek.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. The meek are the broken and selfless blessed who will inherit future new heavens and new earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
We come to the center of the beatitudes the hunger and the thirst for righteousness. All the beatitudes that lead up to this one are generally inward. Attitudes of the heart one might say. And this one is both about the inward and outward state. And then the following beatitudes will be the outward fruit of the first 4.
Have you ever been hungry? When you are hungry, there is something so satisfying about a meal. And if its good – you take one bite and all you want is more. Hunger and thirst is a healthy thing for human beings. It tells us that we need to eat and drink. It reminds us what we need to live. If we don’t eat or drink, we die. Blessed are you who thirst and hunger for righteousness.
Hunger and thirst is something that vividly describes desire, as the sons of Korah cried, “My soul thirst for God, the living God.” The word righteousness can be taken as both the righteousness of God which justifies us and makes us just people. But the emphasis should be on the latter, on being righteous as a result of Gods work. That is the way it is almost always meant in the book of Matthew.
Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is an interior hunger and thirst first and foremost. A hunger and thirst for righteousness in your own life. Are you hungry, church? Elders deacons, Are you Hungry? Really hungry! Do you want to see righteousness done! Or are you content with where you are at? If that is the case, then we don’t realize our own poverty. Lets be hungry for righteousness in our lives, in this church. Let’s pursue it together.
These people hunger and thirst not only that they may be righteous (that they may wholly do Gods will from the heart) but that justice might be done everywhere starting with themselves. All unrighteousness grieves them and makes them homesick for the new heaven and the new earth – the home of righteousness.
And those who desire this righteousness will be filled. Again, we have the sense of the already and not yet – You are filled and that righteousness is now having an effect in the world, but it also will be filled. The church the people of God should be on the leading edge of fighting for justice in this world. And it always has been so – from the time of the Roman empire when it proclaimed justice to the poor and broken, who society had rejected. When it set women on the same playing field as men in terms of worth and worthy of respect and honor. When it led the fight against slavery. But again, the flow of the beatitudes is important. We don’t take on these battles in our own strength, but only in recognition of our own emptiness, mourning our own unrighteousness, submitting our power to God.
We long and we fight for the righteousness of God to fill this earth to rule this earth. We cry out for it. Jesus gives a wonderful parable about it when he says, ““Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
Do you see a lack of righteousness in yourself! CRY OUT! Do you see a lack of righteousness in the world! Cry out! Children of God will see this and be craving more of it! Only this righteousness leads to right relationship. With God and each other.
A.W. Tozer wrote a beautiful prayer about tasting the goodness of God and wanting more: “O God, I have tasted your goodness, and it has made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.”
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. The hungry and thirsty are the broken and blessed hungry ones who will inherit the home of righteousness.
And blessed are the Merciful for they will be shown mercy
Realizing how great our need of rightouesness is should make us merciful toward others. Not treating them as they deserve, in the same way as God does not treat us according to our sins. Are you merciful? Of all people on the face of the earth, we who believe in Jesus should be the most merciful. The quickest to forgive. The most forbearing with other’s sins against us. Why? Because we have received such incredible mercy from God ourselves. Each of us has sinned horrifically and repeatedly against the Holy One who will tolerate no sin in his presence. Yet he so loved us he sent his Son to become the substitute for the wrath we deserved. His wrath struck him instead of us. Jesus got what we deserve and we received what we never deserved – Mercy.
We should pour out mercy on those who sin against us. Those who hurt us. Who misunderstand us and can’t see our point. Those who insist that they are right and we are wrong. Those who don’t realize they are sinning. We should quote Jesus regularly: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” They don’t realize their sin. They don’t see their pride and stubbornness. They don’t know how much they are hurting me. Or maybe they do, but Father, have mercy on them as you have had mercy on me. And help me to have mercy on them. As John Piper says, we should:
“Be stunned that you are a beneficiary of mercy – be reminded and stunned that you and I deserve nothing but wrath from God, and in Christ receive nothing but mercy from him. Be stunned. And then pray that God would make you merciful to the undeserving. OH, how sweet marriages would be if we stopped thinking about what we deserve and thought more about how to show more mercy – how to do more undeserved good to each other. Oh, how sweet would be the fellowship of the church if we all really felt undeserving of any good and lavished with God’s mercy. And how bright the gospel would shine if we touched the poor with Christ-exalting mercy. May God raise up many who will build, with joy, ministries of mercy to the city and the nations.”
Are you stunned by the mercy you’ve received from God? Do you reflect regularly on the mercy you’ve received? Are you a merciful person – is that who you are? Not just something you do, but something you are? Who do you most struggle to feel merciful toward? Ask God to bless them. You and I are not yet perfect. We will need mercy in the future. We don’t want to burn bridges we’ll need to pass over later. Lord Jesus, make us merciful, as you are merciful.
Mercy consists of treating people better than they deserve from us. Forgiveness is a type of mercy. So is aiding someone whom we have no obligation to help, or forbearing to exploit someone’s vulnerability. Mercy, in all these senses, is the driving force of Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection. Through him, our sins are forgiven and we ourselves receive aid by the gift of God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 12). The Spirit’s reason for showing us this mercy is simply that God loves us (John 3:16).
So he who is merciful will be shown mercy. But if there is no mercy. There is no mercy for you – because you lack of mercy is a good sign that you have no idea how much mercy you stand in need of.
Dear church. Blessed are Blessed are the meek, the hungry and thirsty, and the merciful. Are these three chatacter traits of the men that you see before them. Follow them even as they follow Christ!
For to these will inherit the earth, they will be filled with righteousness, and they will be shown unending mercy.