Matthew 5:2-12: The Pursuit of Happiness (Part 3)
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Looking on God meant one thing to the hearers of this beatitude: death. Nevertheless, here Jesus says that the ones who are pure in heart will be able to see God. Moses asked God to see his glory, but God tells him that no one can look on God and live (Exodus 33:18-23). The ability to be pure in heart is not something at man can do on his own accord, rather requires the forgiveness of God. Isaiah recognized this when he encountered God (Isaiah 6:1-8). He recognized his sin and repented, and it was at this point that the angel touched his lips with a coal that symbolically purged him. In the same way, when one comes to God in a repentant heart, he or she can also see God because God makes the heart pure. This idea is like a hand in glove along with meekness before God, because both require one to be humble and pure for God to exalt them (James 4:7-10).
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. If there ever was an ultimate peacemaker, it is God himself. Psalm 46 describe God as being the one who will put an end to wars and conflicts on the earth even though they are in uproar. In a manner of speaking, those that do the same on a less cosmic scale are like God in that respect when they make help broker peace. James describes selfishness as the cause of strife, yet righteousness begets peace (James 3:16-18). Righteousness comes when one comes to the end of oneself and find God there waiting with arms wide open to with forgiveness to those that will receive it by faith, and peace is made with God (Romans 5:1). When one becomes a Christian, he or she becomes Christlike, who is the Son of God, and help broker peace among men and peace between God and men.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The psalmist in Psalm 140 though feels the expresses great angst because of the wickedness that is being inflicted upon. Yet while he feels this angst, he also understands that God is his strength and refuge. There are a few things in the Bible that are assured, and persecution is one of them. Paul summarily says that all that desire to live a godly life will be persecuted, plain and simple (2 Timothy 3:12). While persecution isn’t easy, there is a reward, and Jesus promises this. James 1:2-5 opens his epistle with a supplication to encourage his readers to press on, because persecution does bring about perfection. While persecution is guaranteed for Christians, it is far better to know Christ and endure for his sake it than to not know Christ. The rewards for it may not be seen this side of heaven, but the benefits can be when one is strengthened in his or her character and ultimately can praise God for it.
Lord, help me to pursue you so I can find happiness!