In my last post, we looked at the Beatitudes (Mt 5:2-11) in their historical and gospel context. This changed everything. No longer are they standards to hurdle to be blessed, rather they are statements of grace in our brokenness. The words of Jesus stop being burdens and are actually blessings. Today. Just as I am.
Remember Jesus’ audience (Mt 4:23-25). They were “the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics.” They were the broken, those without a future and a hope. As we saw last week, they were those who were already “poor in spirit” and “those who mourn.” They did not need to become “poor in spirit” or “mourn” more. Jesus healed them. He blessed them as they were. They experienced grace.
Now the next two statements of grace. First, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth“ (Mt 5:5). Remember Jesus is describing those He just blessed. Because of their situation in life, they were continually the intimidated. They were those unable to assert themselves and present their legitimate claims. They were the taken advantage of. Any property or rights that they had were taken. There was no way they could become more meek. They were as unassertive as they could be. And what did Jesus do? He blessed them just as they were and then promised that they would “inherit the earth.” Those who had nothing would by the grace of God have all they need.
Next, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Mt 5:6). Is Jesus telling us that we need to hunger and thirst more before He will bless us? NO! He was describing those he had just blessed who had been hungering and thirsting for things to be made right for years. They had been severely wronged and suffered injustice…some for decades. Like the Israelites in exile, “God heard their groaning…God saw the people…and God knew” (Exodus 2:24,25).
And so for us. “Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” Just as we are. This line in the song, Come Ye Sinners, says it so well – “if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all.”
QUESTION: Am I allowing myself to receive the grace of God just as I am? Am I passing it on to others just as they are?
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