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Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes (Matt.5:3-11)

“Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn,  for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have now come to my reflections on the final three Beatitudes – the conclusion of the Beatitudes of Expression – the Manifest Favor of God in us whereby the Lord expresses Himself both inwardly and outwardly in our lives so that we truly are become the “Sons” or “Children” of God – that is, we become expressions of His nature.

Again this is an awesome phase and one for which I am still praying that I will, by God’s Grace be permitted to enter. It is the phase in our spiritual lives where we have so yielded to the Spirit of Love in us that we, like St. Paul, are able to say, “… it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I will begin my discussion with the Beatitudes Seven and Eight.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

These two beatitudes may only be properly understood when placed in juxtaposition to each other – the Seventh Beatitude indicates as “Blessed” those who bring or make peace, while the Eighth Beatitude indicates that in bringing peace through the righteousness of God expressed through you will cause such division that you will be persecuted. We thus are confronted with the need to discern just what kind of peace is this that brings persecution.

In order to resolve this seeming paradox, we must remember that these “Blessings” are the work of the Holy Spirit in us, bringing us into conformity with the image of the Son, Jesus, the anointed of God, the Prince of Peace (Rom.8:29). This is the same Jesus who in one instance told his disciples that, “ I have not come to bring peace but a sword ..” (Matt. 10:34), and in another place, that. ”Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give…” (John 14:27), These sayings thus indicate to us that  the term “peace” may be understood in at least two distinct ways.

In the first, instance the word “peace” as used by Jesus is the antithesis of division or conflict between human individuals or groups. In the second instance He uses the term “My Peace” to mean the spiritual peace derived from His relationship to the Father. It is this “peace” that He promises his disciples and believers today. “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33).

It is an inner peace that comes from the work of the Cross, where Jesus completed the work for which He was sent, namely, to reconcile mankind to the Father through the shedding of His blood. As St. Paul clearly states, “therefore there is now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom.8:1), and “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;” (2 Cor. 5:18). Clearly, then, we are called to be messengers of the “Good News” of this reconciliation – this is the “peace” of which the beatitude speaks, the peace of reconciliation with the Father.

Christ will, of course, ultimately also bring a relational peace to the whole human race at His Second coming. For now, however, His Peace is propagated through His indwelling presence in us, His people who are designated by His grace as channels of His Love and therefore, His Peace as we love one another as He loved us!

On occasion, as we follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, He will lead us to minister in situations where we can act on His behalf as mediators in human affairs where He gives us the anointing to bring His peace into a situation involving Human conflict. But we must be sure we are following the leadings of the Holy Spirit and not just our human desire to try to bring peace under our own efforts. Although we may have a good intent, it is still a human work and the results will not be lasting because the problem that lies in the human hearts cannot not remedied through human means. I speak by experience, because I have tried to be a peacemaker based on my own efforts and naive desires without having the anointing that comes from a pure heart and the express presence of the Lord in my life. It does not work, because, as He said, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Thus, my brothers and sisters, entering this phase of the beatitudes involves great responsibility because in order to be true “peacemakers” we must be totally yielded to the Prince of Peace and walk as He walked: in His righteousness, not ours. If we try to be peacemakers and ourselves are not at peace with God, we will not only fail but we bring disrepute to our faith and ourselves. That is also why the Eighth Beatitude is so essential to being a peacemaker, for our lives must be the expression of His righteousness so that we can truly make peace in His Name!

Jesus also tells us that the unconverted world cannot receive His kind of peace or His righteousness (John 14:17). In fact, when, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, our lives are a living expression of His righteousness and His Love, the world will hate us and resist us just as the world resisted Him (John 15:19). This, then, is the confirmation that we have reached this stage in our spiritual growth: when you experience persecution for the sake of His Righteousness as expressed in and through your lives in words and actions.

The unconverted world, is still in rebellion against God and it wants to control us and conform us to itself. The peace the world gives is not really peace at all – since it cannot change the hearts of mankind, it merely creates a subterfuge for peace to control us and place us in bondage to its own humanistic and godless rule. That is why Jesus warns His disciples, “in the world you will have trouble” (John 16:33) and, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours also” (John 5;20).

When such is evident in your lives then, as the beatitude states, you know that you have entered the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, you have entered into a full sharing in the Ministry of Christ Himself because you are now also sharing in His sufferings.

The Ninth Beatitude: The Forgotten Beatitude

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

I call this beatitude the “Forgotten Beatitude” because it is left out of most lists of the Beatitudes, which only list the first eight.

As I began reflecting on this beatitude I began to comprehend why it might not be mentioned in most commentaries. First of all it appears that the First eight address the general crowd that is before Jesus (eg., “Blessed are they …” , “Blessed are those …”, etc.) while the ninth beatitude appears to be addressed to the disciples themselves (ie., “Blessed are you …”).  Secondly, the Ninth indicates that the persecution and sufferings are not only more intense but they are inflicted “because of Me” or “because of My Name”. This is an implication that the ones who are indicated by this work of the Holy Spirit are His disciples, but especially those who bear the special anointing of apostles. That is, those who have been “sent” by Jesus in His authority to preach the Gospel at the risk of their very lives. This is borne out by the manner in which the beatitude concludes: …  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Thus implying that they have been sent to proclaim God’s word – or, in essence, to prophesy.

I have some disagreement with this limited understanding, in that the gift of prophecy is not limited to ordained persons –indeed St. Paul exhorted the community to seek the gift of prophecy. Here is what St. Paul says about this, Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy” (1Cor.14:1). The exercise of the prophetic gifts was only limited much later in the early church period to the ordained, when it was also redefined as “preaching” because actual “prophecy” came into disfavor in church practice.

Now, while most of us lay persons are not “officially” ordained to preach, historically, there have been many cases of lay persons who have proclaimed the Gospel in Jesus’ Name without “official” ordination and have been persecuted (and some even martyred), as for example, St. Francis of Assisi and St, Ignatius of Loyola. Admittedly, the officials of the Church later recognized their calling and obliged them to be ordained, Francis, as a deacon, and Ignatius as a priest.

If you reach this stage in your spiritual walk, I therefore urge you, my Brothers and Sisters, not to ignore your calling if you are led to preach or to prophesy. Remember what our first Pope said,

“As every person has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any person speak, let that person speak as the oracles of God; if any person minister, let that person do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 peter 4:10-11).

Yes, this beatitude and the gift of prophecy is for all Christians, both lay and ordained. I guarantee that you will be persecuted and insulted for His Name when you are blessed by this beatitude, but you will be rewarded in heaven. So, if you are genuinely called, seek and find where and how the Lord would have you exercise His gift to the church.  The time of the Lord’s coming is near and we need to hear what the Lord is saying to His Church because the time is near and we need to be ready!. Here is a sample from one of us who is used of God in this Fashion (Re: Mark Mallett, Prophecy Site#3):

THIS word came to me while my spiritual director and I were together. Understand… the dawn of Hope is upon us…

Little ones, do not think that because you, the remnant, are small in number means that you are special. Rather, you are chosen. You are chosen to bring the Good News to the world at the appointed hour. This is the Triumph for which my Heart awaits with great anticipation. All is set now. All is in motion. The hand of my Son is ready to move in the most sovereign way. Pay careful attention to my voice. I am preparing you, my little ones, for this Great Hour of Mercy. Jesus is coming, coming as Light, to awaken souls steeped in darkness. For the darkness is great, but the Light is far greater. When Jesus comes, much will come to light, and the darkness will be scattered. It is then that you will be sent, like the Apostles of old, to gather souls into my Motherly garments. Wait. All is ready. Watch and pray. Never lose hope, for God loves everyone.

In conclusion I leave you with a prayer by one who we all agree reached this level of Beatitude in His Spiritual walk, namely, St. Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon:

where there is doubt, faith ;

where there is despair, hope

where there is darkness, light

where there is sadness, joy

O divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

This concludes my reflections on the Beatitudes. I pray that this sharing will help you in the coming to the discernment you seek to accomplish the work the Spirit of the Living God is doing in you, to the Praise and Glory of His Name! Amen and Amen!

Your Brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

P.S.: If you have missed the other parts of this series (see below for links), I recommend that you read through all of them so that you may discern the context in which these reflections were composed.

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, 2010, all rights reserved

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Related Links:

Make Me a Channel / http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwGOYEIK5eo&feature=fvw

St. Francis (Biography) / http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/francis.htm

Prophesy in the Church Today  (sample sites) :

Prophecy Site #1 / http://pelianito.stblogs.com/

Prophecy Site #2 / http://www.presentationministries.com/general/prophecies.asp

Prophecy Site # 3 / http://www.markmallett.com/blog/

The other parts of this Series:

§ Reflections on the Beatitudes (Part 1)

§ Reflections on the Beatitudes (Part 2)

§ Reflections on the Beatitudes (Part 3)

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Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes (Matt.5:3-11)

“Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

My Fellow Pilgrims,

Having shared with you my reflections on the first five Beatitudes dealing with, the brokenness of spirit that leads us to the “Beatitudes of Conversion”, I now, with much trepidation, share with you my reflections on the “Beatitudes of Expression”. These are the beatitudes that conclude the work of the Holy Spirit in us – that brings us into full conformity to the to the “image of Christ” – the outward expression of the life of Christ in us.

Notice, that I say, “with trepidation”, because in sharing my reflections with you, I need to admit to you that what I am sharing is only what I see ahead for me in my walk of discipleship. Right now, I go in and out of this stage in my spiritual growth as the Holy Spirit is still working on my conversion phase.  The works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) are being pruned from me so that the fruit of the Spirit might come forth to His glory (Gal. 5:22-23)!  The beatitudes I am reflecting on, here, are what give me hope as I continue my walk along the path of discipleship.

Thus, as I proceed to tell you what is in my heart, I ask your loving understanding and prayers and request that you please submit what I am sharing to discernment, in prayer, through the Holy Spirit and the Word Of God. Praised Be The Holy Name!

The Sixth Beatitude: Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God …

This beatitude poses what appear to be two impossible challenges of faith to the dedicated disciple who, by now has all his focus on drawing near to the Father by yielding himself totally to the Spirit of Jesus, so that in Him and through Him we may come into communion with the Father.

These two challenges of faith are:  (1) How can man with a fallen human nature obtain to the purity of heart required to draw near to the throne of the Most High? (2) How can man with a fallen human nature see the transcendent and Holy God who is beyond our nature to see? After all, scripture tells us that when Moses asked to see the Lord God the Lord said, …

“I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.  But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ (Ex.33:18-20)

And the Book of Psalms (Ps24: 3-4) poses the two rhetorical questions …

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?

And who shall stand in his holy place?

And provides a seemingly unachievable rhetorical response …

[Only] Those who have clean hands and pure hearts..”

For the Old Testament believer these were indeed formidable barriers to coming to know or see the Holy God, the Creator of heaven and Earth.

Even the High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies once every year could only come into the Sacred Presence before the Ark of the Covenant after a sacred ritual of purification in the holy Laver and bearing the Blood of the Holocaust Victim in his hands. Any impurity or deficiency, either in ritual or in his person, would result in certain death.

But, ah! Brethren, we must not forget that we are “New Creations” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and we come before the Throne of Grace not on the basis of our own righteousness or works (Heb. 4:16). We have the imputed potential to come near, in faith, robed in the Righteousness of the Son and through His cleansing blood!

But the decision is ours, we must, in faith, put on our “New Man” in Christ (Rom: 13:14). We must transition from an imputed righteousness to our own expressed righteousness or holiness (flawed though it may be) so that we can truly be a living expression of the very life of Christ in us. We must cry out to the Lord just as David, in his repentance, cried out for the Lord to create in him a clean heart.

“You desire truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing spirit.” (Ps. 51: 6-12)

Now if we have just emerged from the conversion/repentance experience, as through the Beatitude of Holy Mourning, we have lived this prayer ourselves. But if we, on the way through the other beatitudes, have sinned, and separated ourselves from the Lord, we must, at this point, return to the Beatitude of Holy Mourning so that, with a pure heart, we can proceed again in our quest to enter the Beatitudes of Expression, where the Lord so rules in our being that everything we do, or say, or think, comes from His Heart in us and NOT from our own desires or thinking.

The Lord wants to set us free from the burden of guilt and from the destructive force of sin in our personal lives. He wants to purify our hearts and renew our minds so we can love and act in every situation as he would love and act. The Lord is ready to change and purify our hearts through the grace and help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God through his Word and Spirit first brings sin into the light that we may recognize it for what it truly is and call upon his mercy and grace for pardon and healing. The Spirit of truth is our Consoler and Helper. His power and grace enables us to choose what is good and to reject what is evil.

It is in just such a cycle of purification that I find myself in. For a moment, it seems, that I enter the expressive phase of the beatitudes and in that moment I am no longer my own, but Jesus’. However, because I still have trouble keeping my flesh under control, very shortly, I find myself responding to the flesh rather than to the spirit and thus I fall from the grace to which the Holy Spirit had taken me.

Then, through the compassionate Grace of the Holy Spirit, I regress back to the Holy Mourning and the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion that restore me again to the place where I can be an instrument of His Grace and His Love in this world!  In this purification process, I find that the more frequently I partake of these sacraments the longer I am able maintain my state as His instrument of Love in this world. Praised Be His Holy Name!

Whenever, I am in this state I find myself more and more open to see what God is doing in and around me and this permits me follow Him, obey Him, and thus complete His work in this world. Remember, Jesus only did something if He saw the Father doing it (John 5:19), and He was able to see what His Father was doing because of His intimate relationship with Him. In this way we see the Father as Jesus saw Him. Also as, we obey the Father in our lives through the Spirit of Jesus in us, our intimate relation with Jesus permits us to see the Father, for, after all , He is the image of  the triune God incarnate!

It is essential, then, that as we progress in our pilgrim’s walk, we keep in mind that it is in maintaining this intimate relationship with Jesus that we are able to “see” the Father and His Love so that, through this “seeing”, His purpose in us may be fully accomplished. Remember what Jesus told His disciples …

“If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ ” (John 14:7-9)

It is at this stage, when you are totally yielded to the Spirit of His Love and “see God” through Jesus, that all that you do is anointed with God’s Love – the “agape” or divine Love that Paul speaks of in his letter to the Corinthians when he declares that,

“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1Cor. 13:1-3)

That is why it is so important that we as Christians yield ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit and through a Pure Heart maintain our communion with the Son. In this way, and only in this way, can we truly be the instruments of His Love in this world!

But we must be very careful in our walk at this stage. We must not presume that due to our state of intimate fellowship with Jesus that we cannot fall. In fact, because of our human tendencies we are even more susceptible to fall into sin, especially, the sin of spiritual pride.  Thus we must be very honest with ourselves and with Our Lord regarding our weaknesses, asking for the graces we need to keep from falling. As you proceed, keep in mind the following scriptures …

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:5-10)

“Whoever says, “I have come to know him,” but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.” (1John 2:4-6)

Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” (1John 3:2-3)

I conclude with this quotation from “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A Kempis:

“You must bring to God a clean and open heart if you wish to attend and see how sweet the Lord is. Truly you will never attain this happiness unless His Grace prepares you and draws you on so that you may forsake all things to be united with Him.” (Chapter 8, The Intimate Friendship with Jesus)

I pray, brethren, that my sharing with you has helped you on your spiritual Journey. In my next posting I will continue with my reflections on the remaining  “Beatitudes of Expression”. In the meantime I exhort you to enter into your secret place with the Lord and ask Him to evaluate your spiritual progress so that you can determine those aspects of your spiritual walk need to be corrected or strengthened by Him.

May the Lord richly bless you as you walk along the Narrow Path with Him!

Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, 2010, all rights reserved

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Related Links:

Reflections on the Beatitudes (Part 1)

Reflections on the Beatitudes (Part 2)

Surrendering to Divine Love

Read Full Post »

Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes (Matt.5:3-11)

“Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

My fellow Pilgrims,

In my previous posting I shared with you my thoughts on the Beatitudes in general and how the First Beatitude is the doorway to the others. I also indicated in my reflections as to how the Beatitudes represent the work of the Holy Spirit in us in bringing us into conformity to image of Christ and, how, by coming to a deeper understanding of the Beatitudes, we can gauge our progress on our walk of discipleship with Jesus.

The first Beatitude or Manifest Favor of God in our lives opens the door to the Kingdom by bringing us to an awareness of our total spiritual bankruptcy or poverty. This usually is initiated through a state of brokenness in our lives that permits the Holy Spirit to break into the hard shell of our self-centeredness and pride. This opens the way for the seed of Word of God’s Love may be planted in our broken hearts to bear fruit to salvation and thus permit us to enter into our inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

The Second Beatitude – “Blessed are those who mourn …

” The brokenness initiated by the First Beatitude, forces us to confront our sin, its consequences, and our inability to change ourselves. But more importantly, the Word of His Love, coming to meet us in our brokenness convicts our heart because now we also realize that it is our rebellious nature that has separated us from His Love – Love that He has manifested so generously on the cross.

Upon realizing who it is our sin has offended, we, in our desperation, drop all our worldly intellectual pretenses and in sorrow, turn our hearts to the One who Loves us, and who, in spite of our sin and has been working to draw us to Himself. Just as the Apostle Peter who, despite his fleshly claim that He would never betray Him, denied the Lord Jesus three times, and was later drawn into Godly Sorrow, a sorrow that is called “Godly” because it led him to repentance, having received the promise of forgiveness from Jesus beforehand.

So the Second Beatitude, then, is a reminder to us that this Holy Mourning we have entered into is a blessing because instead of condemnation, we have received, through His Word, the comforting promise of forgiveness, pending our repentance.

The Third Beatitude – “Blessed are the meek …

” The term “meek” sometimes causes misunderstanding of this Beatitude because of the many facets in the meaning of the word both in English and Greek. I will not go into its etymology here; rather, I leave that to the inquisitive reader. The point that Jesus is making here, however, is not that we are to be pushovers or people who lack resolve in their lives. On the contrary His use of the word is to indicate a meaning of meekness that sometimes escapes us because we usually do not find any models of this type of meekness in our world today.

In order to understand Jesus’ use of the word “meek” we should use Jesus himself as our model. Scripture abound with descriptions of the type of meekness that Jesus modeled for us. But the one that impacts me the most was that written by the Apostle Paul:

“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:4-8)

This then is the type of meekness that is indicated by this Beatitude – and its main characteristic is obedience to the Father, obedience to the point of dying to ourselves. And it this is the type of meekness we are called to take on as disciples – even though we may not conceive that we are capable of reaching this level of commitment. Yet He does not mean for us to make that as something that comes through our achievement, rather, that the blessing comes through the work of the Holy spirit in us – who with the empowerment of His grace provides us the strength to enter into this type of meekness – as He forms us into the image of Christ.

We receive the blessings of “meekness” when we transition from accepting Jesus as “Savior” and make the decision to make Him the Lord of our lives – submitting to Him and the Father in total obedience to His will in our lives. By giving ourselves in Loving obedience, He then is able to work His Grace in us to bring out the quality of character corresponding to His image in us. Praised be His Holy Name!

The Fourth Beatitude – “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, …”

As we continue our cooperation with the Spirit of Love by yielding completely to the Divine Grace and Love that has overwhelmed us, He now brings us to the point where we are established in an intimate relationship with the Father. The reconciliation with the Father which was bought through Blood of Jesus is now made fully effective in us and the hunger and thirst for that reconciliation which was moving in us to this point is now completely satisfied and we become aware that we are now living as a new creation in Christ – as Sons and Daughters and heirs of the Kingdom – with a spiritual and personal knowledge of Jesus and, through Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is as the Apostle Paul tells us,

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5: 16-21)

It is in Him and only in Him, that is in Jesus, that our thirst to be set right or reconciled with God is completely satisfied! In fact, in Jesus, we become the very righteousness of God – that, indeed, is full satisfaction of our hunger and our thirst!

The Fifth Beatitude – “Blessed are merciful, …”

Of course, once we understand the love and mercy that we have received, our loving response, in the Spirit, is to manifest that same love and mercy to those around us.

In receiving the Grace reconciliation with the Father, we instinctively understand that we are called to be ambassadors for Christ and have been given the ministry of mercy and reconciliation. We cannot remain in harmony with our calling and our new creation in Christ if we do not also manifest His mercy in our lives by forgiving others as we have been forgiven. For how else can we be ministers of reconciliation with the Father if we hold un-forgiveness and bitterness towards others in our hearts?

Thus, the transformation wrought in us by our acceptance of the reconciliation won by Christ obliges us to be ministers of this same reconciliation to others. Before we can come into the Father’s presence, as implied by the next Beatitude, we must be first reconciled to our brothers and sisters just as Jesus tells us,

“So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24)

Comments on this portion

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I consider the Beatitudes discussed above as the “Conversion Beatitudes” because they represent the work the Holy Spirit does in us in bringing us into a living and intimate relationship with Jesus. Without such a living working, relationship with the Him, we cannot go further on our walk of discipleship.

Many of us, including myself, spend a lot of time in this phase, especially in the mercy and reconciliation part, because of the personal baggage we hang onto that must be disposed of before we can proceed to the next phase in the Beatitudes.

In entering the next phase we must understand that, although our salvation is assured through our faith in the Son of God and our relationship with Him, we cannot complete the purpose for which we have been called to discipleship unless we also permit the Spirit of Jesus to work in us and through us to reach others IN HIS NAME so that His Kingdom of Love is manifested through us, even to the point of dying for Him and for His Kingdom.

In my next sharing I will comment on the remaining Beatitudes that await us as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this work of Grace, His School of Discipleship. I call these beatitudes the “Expression Beatitudes” because when we reach this level our surrender to His Grace is so complete that our lives become an expression of Jesus living through us. So that, we may truly say as Paul says,

“ ..and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

May the Spirit of Love and Mercy fill your hearts as you continue cooperating with His Love and His Grace. … Bartimaeus

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Related Links:

Reflections on The Beatitudes (Part 1)

“I Then Shall Live  as one who’s been Forgiven”

“I Surrender All”

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, 2010, all rights reserved

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