20 January 2009

Blessed are…

Who are the most favoured people on earth? Jesus answered that question in His first recorded sermon in Matthew. He said that it is:

Those who go to heaven, who live under the reign of God, who are not the great ones, but rather the humble, who are broken before God, who are poor in spirit.

They are the ones that understand they are sinners who have received mercy and who demonstrate mercy to all others.

They are those who don’t play at religion, they are not those who need tickled or teased to come to church, because they are the ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness.

They take advantage of opportunities to make peace.

They are concerned about the purity of their hearts.

They are ones who find themselves at odds with the ways of the world, often to such an extent that the world turns against them.

These are the ones upon whom God’s favour rests. They aren’t great—and they aren’t asked to be great—they are humble, meek and seek heavenly things. They are people concerned primarily with the condition of their own heart.

In Jesus’ kingdom the least are greater even than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11). They are characterized in Jesus’ sermon as being humble, compassionate, meek, yearning for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and persecuted for the sake of the very righteousness they practice.

In the world’s eyes those characteristics are the marks of losers. The world says, “Assert yourself, stand up for yourself, be proud of yourself, elevate yourself, defend yourself, avenge yourself, serve yourself.” Those are the treasured traits of the world’s people and the world’s kingdoms.

But the blessedness Christ offers is not dependent on self-effort or self-righteousness, but on the new nature God gives. In God’s Son, humanity comes to share God’s very nature, which is characterized by true righteousness and joy. That is the kind and the extent of the contentment God wants His children to have—His very own peace and happiness. The good news is that of blessing.

May God grant you His blessing and that blessedness and joy.