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 children 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.
What do you hunger and thirst for? Lots of people might say things like: money or happiness or personal freedoms or good health. Jesus blesses those who most deeply desire righteousness, that state of being in our lives and in the world around us that reflects God’s values and truth. What do you make? Some people may say they make things like: money or trouble or their own good luck. Jesus blesses those who make peace, who draw people together in unity, who treat others with kindness and love in order to soften their hearts.
Jesus blesses people who live and act the way he did. Jesus was meek, merciful and pure in heart. He made peace and hungered for righteousness. He blessed others and called them to be a blessing too. Jesus was also “persecuted because of righteousness,” and he told his followers to prepare themselves to face insults and false accusations. The world often rejects the things of God, often ridicules those who obey God, and often curses what God blesses.
This passage, known as the Beatitudes (blessings), introduces the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus told his followers about life in the Kingdom of God. He was going to ask them to live in ways the world wouldn’t understand and to be willing to suffer for the sake of honoring God. Jesus knew His followers would face some tough moments, and that’s why He began his sermon with words of blessing. We need to hear these words too and remember that Jesus blesses us in ways and for reasons the world doesn’t understand. We choose to hunger for righteousness and to make peace. We choose to be merciful and pure. Some people may not understand why we act this way, but Jesus blesses us for it.
Father in heaven, You are righteous, merciful and holy. Thank You for blessing me through Jesus my Savior. Help me to become more like You in all I do. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian