Sayings of Jesus

(Mat 7:24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:3)

To be poor in spirit seems like a strange attribute for those of the kingdom of heaven. But the word "poor" is simply the word for "beggar." One who lacks must beg for what he does not have. It is the same for those of the kingdom of heaven. Recognizing our lack of spirit, and having a desire for such, we beg God to fill us with His spirit. It is those who do so that are blessed with the kingdom of heaven.

There is also an implied contrast here. It is tempting to see those rich either in material things, or outwardly spiritual, as blessed by God. Thus it seems strange to think of someone poor as being blessed. Like much of what Jesus taught, this verse turns the upside-down worldly view right side up. We are blessed, not by having much, but because we lack much. And because we lack much we must have faith in God for our supply. Out of that need, we come to God and are blessed by Him, not by something we could accomplish on our own.

So often we think that we must somehow become spiritual by some thoughts or deeds. But to be of the kingdom of heaven is to be one who relies on God for spiritual filling. Our lack becomes His manifestation and in that filling up of His spirit we are truly blessed.


Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.  (Mat 5:4)

The mourning in this verse is the type of sorrow and grief that is better thought of as a lament, especially for the dead. I think of it as an intense sorrow, born from the present condition of the world where death comes to all. Thus, they that mourn are those who recognize the present evil age for what it is, are no longer naïve about the world and are saddened by the current conditions.

But the sorrows of this life, and the death that inevitably ends it, are reversed by comfort. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the "comforter" and to me that is the fulfillment of this promise. We who see the condition of mankind produced by sin, and are driven to lament, can find our comfort in the gift of the Holy Spirit. By that Spirit, death is overcome and even reversed in the resurrection. Though this world has trials and sadness, we can survive, and even have joy, because God's grace.


Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  (Mat 5:5)

Since we think of the "meek" as those that are weak, this is one of those saying of Jesus that seems completely contradictory. Those who posses the land are most often the powerful and violent who use that power to rule over others.

It helps to understand that this is a quotation from Psalm 37:11. Four different verses of Psalm 37 include the phrase "inherit the earth." It is those who wait on the Lord (v 9), are meek (v 11), are blessed by God (v 22) and are righteous (v 29). Reading through Psalm 37, it is possible to understand why this saying is true. Throughout the Psalm a contrast is made between the wicked and the righteous. It often appears as if the wicked will rule over everything, but the Psalmist notes that they eventually are destroyed because of their wickedness. God will only allow their evil to continue for a time, in other words, and will preserve the righteous. As the wicked are destroyed and removed from the land, it is the "meek" who wait on God that are preserved and thus remain in the land.

The meaning here in Matthew should be considered the same. The meek inherit the earth because they are not destroyed when God's wrath is poured out on the wicked. Those who seek to control, to conquer, and obtain vengeance are the opposite of the meek. As with other sayings of Jesus, the worldly view is reversed. The apparent success of the violent and powerful is only temporary. The spiritual mind seeks peace with others and righteousness before God, and because of that will be preserved in the end despite the present appearances of things in this world.


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  (Mat 5:6)

I have heard it said you shouldn't go to buy groceries when you are hungry. Everything you see looks good and you buy it all, or at least too much. That's what hunger does to us. It's that urge that makes food so desirable. IN extreme hunger, that's all the mind can think about - where do I get some food?

The same with thirst. The thirstier you get the more you can't stop thinking about getting something to drink. It gnaws at you. It won't go away. The mind just keeps thinking... water, water, water, water...

Do you feel that way about the righteousness of God?

Do you have that sense of longing that won't leave your mind?

Do you so long to have God's understanding that even the tiniest morsel of understanding grabs your attention, makes you focus intently, straining to get at it?

You should have that attitude. But so often the things of this world are what we long for and the satiety of life causes our mind to drift away from the longing for God. Too comfortable to worry. To busy to take time for righteousness. Not hungry right now, thank you, I've got to go to work, make money, play golf, see a movie, read a book, get my belly filled with wealth and pleasure. Maybe later?

No, not later. Now. Be hungry for God and His righteousness. Be thirsty and then drink deeply of the well-spring of the spirit that pours forth from Christ. Be filled with God's grace because you desire it more than anything else and your mind will not be settled on anything else until you have obtained it.


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