Jesus was declared to be “gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29) When King David confessed his sins of adultery and murder, he concluded his prayer by saying, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) Only those who have been raised from spiritual death to life are able to see their desperate need for Christ every moment of every day.
Jesus continued with another opposite. He said that mourners are blessed. Those who see the world around them as it really is, broken by sin and populated by sinners are not happy about its condition, and mourn over the sin that surrounds them and the destruction that sin causes. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, (Luke 19:41). He saw the people in Jerusalem as “sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
Jesus said the humble will inherit the earth. The arrogant and aggressive may receive accolades from the world, but it is the truly humble who will inherit the earth. Humility is defined by one’s relationship to God. One who is humble has a right assessment of himself before God. The humble person knows that he is a creature owing worship to the Creator. This Beatitude is a parallel description to the “poor in spirit” and was likewise demonstrated in the person and work of Christ.
The fourth Beatitude declares a satisfaction resulting from seeking that which is right. In spite of what we may read and hear, there is a right and wrong. God has revealed that which is right in His word. He declared a woe, a dire warning, upon those who would dare to call good evil and evil good. (Isaiah 5:20) But those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied!
The Sermon on the Mount causes those who have been born again to live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. It is important for Christians to understand that this is the way Christ lived. The Kingdom Life described in the Sermon is the Christian Life now and for eternity. All who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior read these words of Jesus and fall upon their knees appealing to the mercy of God for forgiveness and cleansing.
Next: “The Beatitudes,” part 2 of 2.
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).