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Posted By Nan

Matthew 5:4.
In the last blog I looked at the joy of the person who realises his/her dependence on God and learns to depend on Him. I love that verse because I know that when I depend on God in that way, I know such joy and peace. Sadly, I do not do that all the time.
Today I am looking at the second beatitude.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” The Message.
“Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favour and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” Amplified Version.
If you look at this in your bible, you will notice that this verse is referenced by Isaiah 61:2. To understand this beatitude, it is valuable to read all of Isaiah 61.
Matthew Henry notes that the Greek word used for mourn was the type of mourning of a person for a loved one. To experience this type of grief is to experience a grief so intense that the mourner is driven to tears and cannot contain his or her emotions.
He suggests that there are three ways this beatitude can be taken.
The first is that those who grieve deeply are blessed because that grief is so intense that the mourner is forced to stop living life on the surface and has to seek deep within for the strength to carry on. In doing this, the mourner may discover the compassion of his or her fellow man. Also the mourner is very likely to discover the compassion and love of God. This depth of insight, if accepted, will strengthen and mature the mourner and increase his or her inner beauty.
The second way of looking at the beatitude is to see it as the person who realises how deeply his or her fellow man suffers and cares intensely about it.
The last way of seeing this beatitude is to see the person who mourns as mourning for the depth of his or her sin and, in fact, the sin of the whole world. The depth of this person’s sorrow for his or her sinfulness is very intense, and the realisation of the pain he or she has caused to God and Jesus will be overwhelming. This person will be blessed because of the cross, because the way to joy and forgiveness is through the desperation of a heart broken on the cross by the knowledge of the awfulness of sin. If you read Isaiah 61, you will see the strong connection to that chapter and this meaning of the second beatitude.
If all these meanings are combined, then the second beatitude (according to Barclay) means:
“Of the bliss of the man whose heart is broken for the world’s suffering and for his own sin, for out of his sorrow he will find the Joy of God!”

Posted By Nan

Matthew 5:3
“You’re blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” The Message.
“Blessed (happy, to be envied and spiritually prosperous – with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The Amplified Bible.
In the original Greek, the word used for poor means total, abject poverty. In the original Aramaic, the words here described the man who has no earthly resources. Therefore, because he has nothing, he puts his whole trust in God. William Barclay describes this verse as “Blessed is the man who has realised his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God.”
By Barclay’s reckoning, the man who is abjectly poor has learned not to rely on material things to bring happiness or security and has learned to be completely attached to God because he has understood that only God can help him.
Of course, Jesus was not calling for material poverty. What he was calling for was a poverty of spirit, a state where a person realises his/her lack of resources to be able to live life. This person then finds the help and strength he/she needs in God.
However, what is the Kingdom of Heaven? Barclay describes this as being a place where God’s will is perfectly done in earth as in heaven. To be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, a person must do God’s will. The person who is poor in spirit and relies on God is blessed because that person is a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We are called to become less as Jesus becomes greater in our lives. This was first mentioned by John the Baptist in John 3:30. As we grow in our faith in Jesus, we must do more of God’s will and less of our own. Blessed are we when we realise and accept our own helplessness in being able to effectively live our lives. When we realise this, we put our trust in God. As we learn to trust God, we become obedient to His will.
I will finish with Barclay’s version of this first Beatitude:
“O the Bliss of the man who has realised his own utter helplessness, and who has put his whole trust in God, for thus alone he can render to God that perfect obedience which will make him a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Posted By Nan

The Beatitudes.
Before I start looking at the individual Beatitudes I would like to talk generally about them first. William Barclay, in his commentary on Matthew talks about the way the Beatitudes were translated through Greek from Aramaic as spoken by Jesus. He speaks of a Hebrew and Aramaic expression “O the blessedness of” which is what Jesus would have spoken here. This is not a blessed will be the person who…, or at the second coming the person who suffers will be blessed but blessed right now is the person who. We are blessed because we are Christians, because we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is our Saviour, that he died for us and that daily He grows more and we grow less. That is the blessedness, the godlike joy, of being a Christian. The world is a fickle place and our happiness within the world is changeable. We cannot guarantee permanent happiness, but the blessedness of the Christian is a joy that is rooted in the greatness of our Lord, Jesus Christ and it is permanent.

Posted By Nan

Matthew 5:1-2
These verses set the stage for the entire Sermon on the Mount. Jesus’ ministry was drawing large crowds and He was aware of this. So Jesus climbed a mountain and took his disciples with Him. It is noted He sat down, opened his mouth and started teaching. In Jewish tradition, a Rabbi would often talk to his disciples when he was walking around with them. However, if he had something really important to say, he would sit down. This emphasises the importance of what Jesus was about to teach. This was the core of His teaching to those who were apprenticed to Him. A final indicator of the importance of His words is the phrase “He opened His mouth” (verse 2) which is seen in some translations. This is taken from the Greek and stresses the importance of what He was about to say. For the person reading this gospel, it is an indication of the need to consider carefully the words that are to come, because they are important utterances.

Posted By Nan

Today I commence a blog on the Sermon on the Mount, contained in Matthew 5 to 7.
Before I start, I want to talk about the end of the blog series on John. It was not until I posted the last blog entry that I realised the significance of the end of that series. I had a deep impression of having finished a journey with Jesus that had been part of my life since I first started the series in May 2011. I have really enjoyed the journey and to learn more about Jesus through the eyes of the “disciple He loved”. I have loved seeking God’s insight on each verse. Sometimes I looked at one verse at a time. Other times I covered whole sections. Sometimes I spent a lot of time researching and discussing theological arguments, and other times the message I was to give was revealed to me as I read through the passage. Often, what I read in the passages, and what I was instructed to talk about was happening, or happened shortly afterward, in my life. I lived this gospel as well as wrote about it. I feel as though I have been on an epic journey. After I posted that last blog I spent time sitting with Jesus, absorbing the awe I felt at having been part of that journey.
Over the past few weeks, knowing that my blog was coming to an end, I have been praying about where to go next. The answer was to cover the Sermon on the Mount. I have completed many studies of the Beautitudes and read William Barclay’s amazing commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. What I read in his commentary has remained with me over the decades and has informed many of my behavioural choices in life. For me, the Sermon on the Mount is instructions on how to put Jesus’ teaching into practice. How to live in a way that satisfies our desire to do as Jesus would do. How to live in a way that pleases God.
I have been spending the past few days reading Matthew 5-7 in various versions of the Bible. I have read the cross referencing to the Old Testament as well. I am really excited about this study and the journey I am commencing on. I expect to be changed by this experience and I pray that you may be too. We never know what message God has for us in what we or other people read and write. May this be an amazing journey for all of us.
May God bless you through our Lord Jesus Christ and may you grow in your relationship with Jesus during this journey.



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