I remember a few years back, I was 25 and in the kitchen of my home washing the dishes, for some reason I was reminded of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are the eight declarations of blessedness spoken by Jesus at the beginning of his 'Sermon on the Mount'—the most famous speech ever given.
As I was standing there I kept focussing on the words, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,'then another verse in no particular order,'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God...'
As I focussed on each one, I began to feel more wonder, amazement. These words, they weren't just words! As I focussed on one I was touched emotionally, then more so with each verse, so much so that I started to weep.
They moved from being words spoken by a man 2000 years ago to now living and breathing in my kitchen and, as I was standing there doing the dishes, they were touching the deepest part of me. As they hit my heart I was overwhelmed.
Wisdom not of this world
There is such a deep wisdom here, such a humble beauty in every sentence. Even without understanding the truth of each and every verse they are profound and deeply moving. Anyone with an open heart and mind who would meditate on them long enough might see the wisdom with which Jesus spoke; it was simply not of this world. I have never read any words to compare them to anywhere in the world.
Jesus was, in fact, not of this world. He continually claimed to have come from his Father in heaven and preached about the Kingdom of God—a kingdom of divine ruling where peace, love, grace and righteousness would take the throne and make all things new. This kingdom, he taught, was soon coming soon to earth but was first going to be made evident in the hearts of men.
The reason his words have such a depth, such humility, and such knowledge is that the words of Jesus are the words of God Himself! He claimed himself to be equal with God and that he and God the Father were one. He said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him. Pretty big claims! If he was not who he said he was then he was certainly a mad man.
But these cannot be the words of a madman, of the deranged; these teachings go against so much of what our human nature bends towards, the furthest end point of actually being insane! They strangely offer no answer to the 'why do people suffer?' questions, but give us reassurance that in our suffering we will be comforted, the hungry will be filled, the persecuted will see heaven, if not in this life then the greater life that is to come—the one straight after this one.
More than just an answer
Jesus offers something deeper than answers to our why questions, he offers us the hope that there is redemption and purpose in our suffering, there is a deeper meaning to our broken hearts, there is quenching for the thirst after righteousness.
And why can Jesus claim that these things will happen to the poor in spirit? To the broken? To the peacemakers? To the pure in heart and to the mourning? Because he ultimately is the one who will feed, comfort and console us and he will do so by his Spirit entering our spirits—the deepest part of us.
These are promises; these are words of deep wisdom. For wisdom to be deep you can be sure you're not going to ascertain everything they contain by a quick glance. These truths speak deeper than that, so open your mind and your heart, and let God's Spirit (the Comforter) speak what he wants to speak to you through them.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew chapter 5, verse 3–10
Tim Everton is from South Australia, is a youth worker by trade and runs his own small business making miniature things. In his off-time he enjoys making more miniature things, playing board games hanging out at the beach and seeking out the next best cafe latte.
Tim Everton’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-everton.html