A Variety of Blessings
Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
The blessings that Jesus spelt out were refreshingly new and inviting. What precious promises these were! Let us take time to review them:
1. With reference to eternal matters
a) The promise of inheriting “the kingdom of God”. Matthew 5:3
b) The promise of being able “to see God”. Matthew 5:8
2. With reference to earthly and personal-life matters
a) There will be “comfort”. Matthew 5:4
b) There will be the “inheritance of the earth”.Matthew 5:5
c) There will be complete satisfaction (“filled”). Matthew 5:6
d) There will be “mercy”. Matthew 5:7
This is just one way of classifying the blessings Jesus promised. Both sets of blessings are complementary to each other.
THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF ANOTHER BLESSING
The seventh Beatitude was just as challenging. Jesus challenged the disciples to consider this truth.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.”
“Peace” translates the word “shalom” – the common word of greetings among the Jews when they meet each other on the road. You greet a person with the wish of “peace” when you greet a person. You also wish the gift of “peace” when you say farewell. The word “peace” was of great personal and symbolic significance. Those who proclaim and promote peace are specially blessed. They are called “the sons of God”!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A PEACEMAKER?
What was the challenge in this latest statement from Jesus? Let us consider the following thoughts.
1. It is a ministry of proclamation of peace
We are reminded of the stirring words of the prophet Isaiah as we think of the word “peace”.
“How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”
This was the ministry that John the Baptiser was engaged in. This was the ministry that Jesus Himself was involved in too! There was a glorious message to proclaim indeed – a message of salvation from God. With this salvation came the gift of “peace” from God.
2. It is a ministry of reconciliation
The preaching of the gospel of salvation means helping people to be reconciled to God. Many were estranged from God because of sins. There were many who would like to return to God, but because of ignorance and fear, they remain in their sinful state. These need to be told that there is forgiveness with God. These need to be encouraged to find salvation from God.
3. It is a ministry of being “fishers of men”
Jesus promised those who followed Him that He would make them “fishers of men”. They would become good fishers of men if they learned how to proclaim this wonderful message of salvation.
a) They preach the Gospel of salvation as “good news”.
b) They proclaim salvation from God.
c) They proclaim “Your God reigns”.
THE PEACE THAT JESUS SPOKE ABOUT
Let us consider the “peace” that Jesus spoke about in further depth. It is a wonderful thing to be reconciled to God. It is a glorious message to proclaim indeed. But how is this peace actually given? Let us ponder this thought. Jesus must have known that to bring about this peace, He Himself must pay the highest price, according to the prophecy of Isaiah.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
Only Jesus knew the fullness of the concept of peace that He spoke about. In order for this Gospel of salvation and peace to be possible at all, He must bear the chastisement of God upon His shoulders. The context of Isaiah’s prophecy was one of great and intense suffering for the Messiah!