For March 13, 2019
Some of those who heard the Lord Jesus Christ proclaim the Beatitudes had been disappointed. For it was ancient Palestine around the beginning of the last millennium. Although Rome was the world power, there were rumors of a promised Messiah who would establish His eternal Kingdom with Jerusalem at its center. But there was yet no Messiah—and no new kingdom emerging—or so they thought.
There were many recognized leaders of the day. One in particular, Jesus of Nazareth, gathered a significant following of anxious people who heard Him promise the following:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after 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 the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:3-12 (KJV)
Those who were disgruntled and disappointed by these words, expected Jesus tell how He was going to subdue the Romans and establish an earthly kingdom.
Unfortunately, many are still unmoved by His message today because they fail to realize that our Lord’s reign is invisible now (as He reigns in the hearts of His subjects), but it shall be visible later—when He returns!
Thanks be to God for those who heard the Lord’s piercing words and were spiritually transformed by them—as many of us have been today. They, like us, understand and embrace His eight fundamental blessings of Kingdom Citizenship:
- The “poor in spirit” or those who turn from their pride and humbly seek the Lord Jesus Christ for their reconciliation to God are given eternal access to the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Those who are truly penitent, who “mourn” over their helplessness (as sinners in need of a Savior) shall find the Lord to be the only means of true and lasting comfort.
- Those who are the “meek,” who emulate Christ’s selflessness (especially when facing opposition; knowing that vengeance is the Lord’s, and He will vindicate) shall inherit the earth.
- The Lord Himself shall completely satisfy the cravings of those who “hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness” in their lives, families, churches, communities, and world.
- Mercy begets mercy. Those who graciously extend mercy to others are assured to receive God’s mercy and grace. Here, we can be merciful because the Lord has been merciful to us.
- Those who demonstrate sincere desires and motives, who consistently show they have hearts that are pure (no malevolence or duplicity). These people shall see God face to face.
- The Children of God always seek to preserve peace by living in harmony with others. This is because Jesus, the Prince of Peace lives inside them in the person of the Holy Spirit, who performs the Lord’s perfect peace through them as His “peace makers.”
- Ill-treatment is a common plight to all humans. But those who inherit the Kingdom of Heaven having been “persecuted for righteousness sake” share an experience comparable to that of the ancient prophets. So when we face rejection, criticism, or isolation because of our Christian testimony, we can rejoice and be exceedingly glad because our reward in Heaven is great!
As Christians, we are the subjects of the Lord’s universal, yet invisible Kingdom where Jesus Christ reigns as both Savior and Lord. As such, we are the living proof of His marvelous plan of redemption. Thus, our faith in Christ and labors for His Kingdom’s benefit are never futile or wasted.
We are the joint heirs in whom the Lord has entrusted the New Birth. This priceless heirloom, which we acquire by faith in Christ alone and share in common, confirms our identity as His followers, allows us to live morally responsible and spiritually astute, and enhances and preserves a civil, global society both now and forever. What a wonderful Savior!