Worth It All!
Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
“Follow Me…” so said Jesus to would-be disciples! And they followed Him. All had to make sacrifices to follow the Master! As Jesus taught and preached, and even more so, as He healed the sick and cast out demons, the disciples were deeply impacted. Would Jesus teach them how they could do the same things? That would be great!
The disciples gathered around Jesus eagerly. He was going to teach them. But what would He teach them? Would He explain to them how they may obtain spiritual power? Would He explain to them how the sick could be healed?
To their great surprise Jesus did nothing of that sort! Instead, He began to teach them profound truths! He spoke about being blessed by God. That was a great topic to expound, but what a different approach Jesus took! His teachings seemed startlingly new and fresh! And they were hard to apply in life! Was this the way Jesus was going to train His disciples? Would they be able to become effective fishers of men after they have learned all that Jesus had to teach them?
It must have been hard to fathom why Jesus did not concentrate on teaching His disciples practical knowledge and skills. Wisely, the disciples did not give up listening to Jesus. As they listened to Jesus, they knew that He had the most profound knowledge a person might desire to possess! His words were so challenging. Even if He taught them nothing about how to obtain spiritual power, just to sit at His feet as His disciples was worth it all.
THE THEME OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Jesus went on to pronounce a special blessing on those who sought “righteousness”.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
For they shall be filled.”
The theme of “righteousness” was very well explored in the book of Psalms. Let us consider the following psalms that touched on the subject of “righteousness”.
1. The lifestyle of the righteous
“Righteousness” is never taught as an abstract virtue. It is always associated with the lifestyle of the godly person. The Book of Psalms began with a statement that God’s blessing is on the man who is righteous. But who or what is a righteous man? This thought is briefly but effectively described in the first Psalm.
“Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Psalm 1:1-2, 6
a) The righteous person is known by the company he keeps.
b) He is a man who loves the Word of God. He meditates on it regularly.
c) The Lord has a special regard for this person. This is intimated in the word “knows”.
2. God’s regard for the righteous
The psalmist knew that God loves the person who is righteous. He even has a special phrase to describe the Lord.
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!”
He went on to make another striking statement.
“But know that the Lord has set apart for
Himself him who is godly (righteous);
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.”
Righteousness may even be associated with “sacrifices”.
“Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.”
3. The Righteous Character of God
Jesus’ emphasis on righteousness is absolutely correct. The following text is one of the clearest statements on the subject of righteousness.
“For the Lord is righteous,
He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright.”
THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF BLESSING ON THE RIGHTEOUS
Jesus the Righteous opened His mouth and pronounced a special blessing on those who love righteousness and sought it. Blessed indeed are those who sought righteousness. And how do they express their love for righteousness? They are described as people who hungered and thirsted after righteousness. Those who followed Jesus must also be people who truly appreciated the virtue of righteousness. As a ravenous man who spares no effort to look for food, so the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness would be filled!