Blessed are the Meek

Beatitudes, Kingdom of God, Spiritual Growth

Jesus is preaching the “Sermon on the Mount” and a huge crowd is gathering. The crowd is comprised of a mixed multitude. A mishmash of all kinds of people. For example, from Jerusalem/Judea there are the very orthodox Jews with their intense interest in the Law and in the various dietary and ceremonial laws. They are strongly passionate about all things religious.

But there are also the Galileean Jews, for whom synagogue is an important part of their life, but they aren’t religiously compulsive about it. These folks are primarily fishermen, shepherds, and farmers. They have a whole lot of things to keep them busy. And so synagogue is a very formative part of their life, but they’re not obsessive about it.

Then there is the crowd who always seemed to be around Jesus. Sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes. People who had completely abandoned the religious life. They had just given up on religion. They wanted nothing more to do with it. It hadn’t worked out for them. It wasn’t cut out for them. And yet, somehow they’re attracted to Jesus too.

Interestingly, one of the places this crowd comes from (as we’re told in chapter 4) is the Decapolis. It’s an area of ten cities east of the Jordan. And it’s a Greek area settled by Alexander the Great many centuries earlier. And so the Greeks are there with their art and their philosophy and their learning. They’re in the crowd.

And then of course, there are the Roman soldiers who were ever-present as the dominating, occupying military force from the superpower of the age, the Roman Empire.

So you have the hyper-religious Jews, the moderately religious, the irreligious, the sophisticated Greeks, and the arrogant Romans with their military might. They’re all there. They represent the whole spectrum of humanity. Because the sermon that Jesus gives on the Mount is for the whole world. He is declaring the new way, the alternative way that leads to kingdom life.

Patient Trust

Poem, Spiritual Growth

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

Some stages of instability–

and that it may take a very long time.

The Constitution of the Kingdom

Christian history, Kingdom of God, Spiritual Growth

(Note: I am planning to start a short blog series on each of the Beatitudes beginning next week.)

Great crowds were being attracted to Jesus. Largely because of the miracles that were beginning to swirl around all that he was doing. And the crowds were not just Jewish. They were a mixed multitude of Jews and non-Jews gathering to Jesus. All kinds of people. The whole gamut. The whole spectrum of humanity was being attracted to Jesus.

When Jesus saw that his ministry was growing and this huge crowd was assembling, he departed from the shores of Galilee, and he began to climb a mountain. When he found a suitable place he sat down to signify that he was beginning to teach. And his twelve disciples whom he had chosen formed the inner ring.