These beatitudes are meant to be encouraging to those around Jesus.
They have begun to follow Him but they may be wondering whether they are blessed or not. My guess is that they are feeling some awareness of their poverty of spirit, or a deeper longing for righteousness, or a desire to see God in all that they do. Jesus is telling them, “Good news! Being poor in spirit or meek are not indications that God is distant or that He is not favoring you! In fact, these longings are exactly what God is growing in you, so that you are able and willing more and more to receive the wonderful blessings He is offering you!” These attributes are not ones that we wish to be in or remain in. They are uncomfortable because they are about lacks we are currently experiencing in our lives. If we are mourning we don’t like it and wish to be somewhere else. We are tempted to feel that our mourning is not a good thing. But Jesus is encouraging us to see that He is making our longings like His own. He is even growing our longings for the things with which He is filling and will fill us.
God, our King, desires indeed to bless us. We will explore each of these beatitudes in depth in the next few studies, but take a moment to consider the riches of His blessings. To be truly comforted, to see all things set right, to inherit the whole earth, and to be His true children. These are the ways of His kingdom. So it makes more sense to see that to be blessed here and now is to find we are being made ready to receive all these things. Isn’t it wonderful to know that those deepest longings you have, to belong, to be whole, are going to be filled by the very God who put those longings in you in the first place? They are a sign of His work in your life. Is He working? Am I blessed? Where can I see this? Well it appears from this Scripture that we don’t see it from our circumstances, but from what God is doing within us.
As I have pondered over these beatitudes this summer and fall, I can see how God is indeed answering my heart prayers for my children. He did not make them successful and give them a trouble-free life here. In fact, it has been a long, difficult, and at times very painful three years. A few weeks ago, my son Greg and I were together in the car and he was telling me of his longing for heaven. He was talking about how many things he noticed that were not right in the world and they made him long for heaven. I have seen in all of my children at times a greater sense of their poverty of spirit and of their capacity to mourn over their own sins and the twistedness of the world around them. And, I see now that God is indeed making my children blessed.
They are growing more ready and willing to receive the comfort , love, and presence of God. He is more precious to them now.
Who are the blessed? Well, we who are His followers are the blessed. And the next time you find yourself mourning over the loss of a loved one or a friendship, or mourning over the distortion and destruction that sin causes, remember this is a sign that you are blessed--God is at work in you and He will give His presence, peace, and comfort someday perfectly.