“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for 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 sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3-10)
I sometimes wonder how the Galilean Jews responded when they first heard these words from Yeshua. These Jews who lived under the heavy oppression of Roman tyranny that perpetuated their poverty and suffering, I have to assume that they didn’t feel particularly blessed. The historical record shows a world that they were sure to have been very familiar with being “poor, mourning, hungry, and persecuted.” But making the connection between those things and “blessing” is a connection not many naturally make.
But who is He talking to?
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:” (Matt. 5:1-2)
Jesus isn’t speaking to “the multitudes,” it says He saw the multitudes, but was speaking to His disciples.
So what? What is the significance?
The condition of need is a point of blessing only to the disciple, because that is the place where Jesus meets him. Jesus saw the condition of the multitudes in their poverty and need, but His presence was with His disciples and this was His promise that in their deep places of need, they would find Him.
It was His presence that was the blessing. As I have discovered the “God of all comfort” (II Cor. 1:3) in the midst of my anguish, the blessing of His presence plants the seeds of grace and mercy that after a time become a tree life bearing fruits of compassion and grace for those around me.
We take comfort in our need because we know that through it God’s work is forming us into people that “theirs is the Kingdome of Heaven.”