23 September 2013Matthew 4:23 - 5:12
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (v. 6)
Jesus opens his teaching in the passage called 'The Sermon on
the Mount' with a list of nine beatitudes (a beatitude is a
condition of well-being). He outlines the approach to life that
should be adopted by those who are his disciples if they want to
experience wholeness. And, straightaway, here is the rub!
Matthew's Gospel indicates that Jesus' teaching was addressed to the disciples, whilst the crowd that had followed them, listened in. So, Jesus' teaching is for those who are committed to follow in his footsteps but it should be heard by those who are wondering if becoming a disciple is for them.
Hunger of God begins when we recognise that God can fill the holes in our living. It grows as we learn of all that God offers and all that he desires for each one of us - that is, that we be filled with:
- the kingdom of heaven (vv. 3, 10)
- comfort (v. 4)
- an earthly inheritance (v. 5)
- satisfaction (v. 6)
- mercy (v. 7)
- a glimpse of God (v. 8)
- a place in God's family (v. 9)
- an eternal reward (v. 11)
The more we realise that this is what God wants, the more
our desire to live the kind of life that God prefers. The
well-being that God wants for us comes about through a hunger for
God that brings about:
- recognition that without God we are nothing (v. 3)
- sorrow for all that is evil (v. 4)
- humility before God (v. 5)
- a longing to do what is right and just (v. 6)
- a reflection of the graciousness of God (v. 7)
- single-minded devotion to God (v. 8)
- peace with God and others (v. 9)
- willingness to suffer for God's sake (v. 11)
- Which of the beatitudes sums up your current need?
- Does your behaviour or attitude create a stumbling block to faith in Jesus for other people? What can you do to change this?