Matthew 5: 1-26

AEM  I think this chapter is a very special portion of Scripture.  It is known as the sermon on the mount, although not referred to as that in Scripture.  They are the words of the Lord Jesus Himself.  We spoke last week as to those that the Lord was calling to Himself.  We spoke in particular as to the preaching of repentance that the Lord had.  Mr Darby says of verse 23 of chapter 4 that it encapsulates the whole of the Lord’s public ministry, Synopsis vol 3 p39.  That is what He did for three and a half years.  Clearly, He was given a lot more in the sight of the Father as to His eternal work, but physically on the earth His gospel was this, a gospel of repentance.  It continued what John had set on, to that extent.  His preaching in verse 17 of chapter 4 was, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn nigh”.  He was gathering in those who would have part in what we had an impression of this morning, the formation of the assembly.  These men that He called were to be part of that. 

         Here, He goes up into the mountain and sits with the disciples and speaks to them of the required behaviours of those who find their part in this kingdom.  It is quite challenging to keep the thought of an earthly kingdom and the kingdom of the heavens side by side as we look at this.  There was clearly to be a kingdom on the earth in a coming day after the saints of this dispensation have gone; there is a remnant that is to be persecuted, but there is to be a kingdom on the earth which will be centred on Israel.  These features were to be found there.  This is the kingdom of the heavens.  Others have said that the result of Jews behaving like this even in a day to come will be that they will gradually look towards the heavens from whence came the King.  They will stop looking exclusively at the earth around them, which is quite attractive.  I wondered if it would help us, rather than get confused between the earthly application and the heavenly application, if we focused on the heavenly application.  There are features here that are to be seen in those who acknowledge the Lord as King now, and who take up their part in the assembly.  These are features to be expected and they are very attractive; not particularly to the earth, but they are attractive to Christ.

RMcK  I think that is important.  These features are not ones that are regarded well in the world.  We saw earlier in the book as to the devil coming and tempting the Lord Himself, chap 4: 1.  His aim would be that these features are disregarded and they are treated with contempt by men.  The preciousness of it is that these features are to mark those that are in the kingdom of the heavens.  Would it be right to say that all of these features that the Lord speaks of, are applicable to those who are part of that kingdom?  He says specifically in both verse 3 and verse 10, “theirs is the kingdom of the heavens”.  All of these features would mark the saints, and subjects of that kingdom. 

AEM  Yes, I think so.  We know what it is to be in the pathway of the testimony and not show these features.  We do not lose the blessing of salvation; we should be clear about that.  We do not have that blessing one day and not the next, although  you may lose the enjoyment of it.  When it says, “theirs is the kingdom of the heavens” I think that is that they experience the joy of it and the fulness of knowing what it is to operate in an area ruled over by a King who is in heaven.  Here, He has drawn nigh and is speaking to these men saying that the centre is in Me.  I think the exercise as to this gospel has been that the centre is Christ; we see that here.  There was only One Man in whom these things were seen perfectly.

DJMcK  This was teaching as to the disciples.  The contrast is drawn at the end of the last chapter with the crowds: “great crowds followed him from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem” (Matt 4: 25), that area where the Lord had been preaching His gospel of repentance.  Here there is a contrast on the mountain with His disciples, where this teaching comes out.

AEM  I think so; it is an important matter that you raise.  I wonder if there is a touch of revelation about the whole of this.  I noticed in verse 16 the Lord says, “glorify your Father who is in the heavens”.  That message was not fully revealed until the Lord was risen when He says, “my Father and your Father”, John 20: 17.  This is long before that; it is right at the beginning of His public service.  In this elevated area I wonder if all of these things have a touch of revelation about them as to the kingdom.

DJMcK  I think that is good.  We often read these chapters in the context of what we know of what the rest of the gospel says.  If you think of this chronologically this is something very fresh and new for the disciples.  It is revelation, but also immense privilege.  The gospel of repentance was very important; people who came in were to be made subject to the King, but this is something that is very privileged for the disciples.

AEM  I think so; those who were close to Christ.  As we often say about disciples, they come under His discipline.  I think you made reference in thanksgiving this morning to the Lord being “head over all things to the assembly”, Eph 1: 22.  It is where everything is drawn from and He takes His own to Himself.  As I understand it the chapter is split into two, firstly the behaviours and requirements as to how we are; and then the second half shows how the law is not superseded by this teaching, they go together.

ARH  We were impressed last week when they “immediately followed him”, Matt 4: 20.  This is a revelation to those who had started following the Lord, rather than just hearing the gospel. 

AEM  That is good.  The gospel was one of repentance.  You get the sense here that He was speaking to repentant persons.  He was revealing things to them, and saying the blessing is going to be theirs.  This is how we come into it.  We need to want to take on these features. 

WBMcK  There is the quickening of the Lord in that, these things being opened up to those who are already following the Lord.  It is not something that they have to do as a qualification.  It is not that He would tell them to show some of these features, so that then they can follow Him once they are qualified for that; that is not the way that it works.

AEM  No, they were spiritually intelligent, sensitive as to that.  If we were speaking of our dispensation we would say such had the Spirit.  In the dispensation of which we are speaking they did not have the Spirit because He had not come.  They had a sensitivity where the Lord was able to impart these things.  I suppose it was rooted in their love for Him. 

WBMcK  When it was being read, I was tested with this list of features.  Although following the Lord is the first point, having a desire to be with Him and follow Him, these things are opened up to us and we prove the grace that allows these features to come out. 

AEM  I think so; we have to put ourselves in the way of being like this.  I have been privileged my whole life to be in the area where the things of God are spoken of and valued.  I remember when we were married some of my work colleagues came to the meeting and they said they enjoyed the singing, because people sang as though they meant it, which was interesting in itself.  They had no idea about what was said.  The thought of Christ and the assembly meant absolutely nothing to them; they did not have the first clue.  It made me think how I have spent my whole life where something so valuable had been revealed to me.  Here is the Lord saying to these men, ‘The kingdom of the heaven can be yours’: this is how behaviour should be there. 

ARH  Initially they listened to His call, “Come after me”, Matt 4: 19.  There is the privilege of this position.  We are talking about the steps that led individuals to come to this position where they can receive from the Lord.  Things need to happen before that.  Repentance is one thing that the Lord preached, but then He has called us. 

RMcK  The scripture is very clear that His disciples came to Him.  They did not just happen to be there.  They came to Him.

AEM  It was either as having left all or, as it says here, “having left the ship and their father”, Matt 4: 22.  We commented last week that they left their work and they left their family, all their connections, and they followed Him.  If we apply it to our own circumstances that is a big move.  It must mean that Christ is more valuable, He means more to me, than everything else in my life. 

DAB  They went up the mountain first.  I was thinking that great crowds had followed Him before and perhaps they were carried along by popularity, but, up the mountain, our destination is Christ.  It requires effort to climb the mountain; they go up the mountain and come to Him.  If we want to get to that we need to get to Him, up the mountain.

AEM  It is interesting what you refer to.  We spoke last week about the crowd that were healed.  Reference was made to the fact that all were healed: He healed them; no one was left out.  If we receive a touch of grace from Christ it does not necessarily mean that we are quite ready to receive revelation; we have to get apart from the scene here.  That means going to where He is.  The kingdom of the heavens had drawn nigh, in a Person.

DAB  It is wonderful that He sat down.  He was moving in service, preaching to all those people, but He came and sat down in complacency and His disciples came to Him.  I was thinking of Mary sitting at His feet, Luke 10: 39.  He is able to teach those who draw near to Him and find Him at rest.

AEM  This is what the Lord wanted.  He was not just teaching to impart information.  In His affections and compassions for them and His desires for His Father, this is what He wanted for them.  It is what He wants for us, to be in touch with Him in the heavens, not attached to the earth.

WBMcK  One of the thoughts we had last week was about the crowds that came to Him for their benefit; to receive a touch, to be healed.  I suppose Christ would come in and help them in their circumstances.  The kingdom of the heavens was brought nigh in Him.  That is for our own benefit, but then are we attracted to Him?  That is a test, as to why we are following; it is not just that we have received such grace.

AEM  They would have been made better, but they were to be for Him.  Lazarus was brought forth from the tomb, although he would still have died again as to this earth, John 11: 44.  What the Lord was starting to speak about was another kingdom. Even though Israel are given an area on the earth for their blessing, in a future day, “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (John 19: 37) and start to see the King of the heavens.

EGMcK  It is attractive as you read this list of features how every one of them is found perfectly, in quietness.  I was thinking how He could say to them, “Altogether that which I also say to you”, John 8: 25.  They came to the Person; everything was found in Him.

AEM  That is good; do you think it links with what we have been reading about Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, where he was able to say to them, “ye know what we were among you”, 1 Thess 1: 5?  He was not boasting in himself, but he was saying he and those with him were among them as the Master had been.  Here, the Lord is saying that they really needed to take their cue from Him.  If you are following Him, what are you seeing?  We are not to follow the Lord Jesus and then behave in an inconsistent way.

JES  Help us as to how we do that practically.

AEM  The Lord gives them specific examples here.  It is not about having a tick list.

JES  I was thinking that; these features do not come to us naturally.  In our lives they are not valued by the world.  Would it be attraction and a focus on Him, and the gift of the Spirit, that would help us to manifest these features as we are here?  If we are attracted to Him and our eyes are on Him, we want to do things that please Him.

AEM  That is good. To get to that point, I just wanted to ask you the same question you asked me; how do we get to that point where we want to do things that are pleasing to Him?  We can remember what He has done for us, that is one thing.  I think even that of itself is not enough.  It needs to be a living following.  It is obedience to the One who now lives.  If you think of the things that these fishermen left, they were not wrong things.  They had families and they had work: that was not wrong, and no one is saying that is wrong.  We have to fulfil righteousness.  Is the Lord really more important to me all the time than my work or my family?  Is He really?  It is a bit of a tough one.

JES  It is a tough test; it is not something that we do, and tick off the list, and move on.  It is something that we have to work on.

AEM  If the kingdom of the heavens is to be mine, and I am to enjoy it I have to do these things; I have to become poor in spirit.  The flesh in me is not naturally desirous of being poor in spirit.  I have to somehow become poor in spirit.

DAB  I would like to ask why it is recorded that “he opened his mouth”.

AEM  I do not know that I have a definitive answer.  It is very attractive; it is also a very personal thing which links with what we have been saying.  He did not hand over a list of things which said, ‘If you achieve this then you are enrolled in the kingdom of the heavens’.  It is not about that; it is about following this Man.  We have had “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2: 5) a couple of times in the gospel recently.  Here He is; He is able to open it up to them; He is qualified to do it.  This is the Son of God.  It is more as the Son of man that He is imparting to them what was to be theirs.

DAB  I think so.  You almost get the sense that they sat down too, and the Lord was there. There was perhaps a moment of silence. Their occupation was focused on the Lord.  There was something that the Spirit felt worth recording, that He “opened his mouth”.  This came from the Lord of glory opening His mouth to speak of the kingdom of the heavens.  Maybe we start there, start with our occupation with that One, these features will begin to develop out of attraction and affection for Him and then His character will begin to develop in us.

AEM  It could not come from a more attractive source.

RMcK  These words were not written down; they were not part of the law.  This was what was to be formed in the disciples and in the saints through attraction to Christ, rather than a written down ministry.

DAB    Later on it says that their righteousness had to be greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees.

ARH  I was wondering the same about His “having opened his mouth”.  He had to open His mouth to speak, which He did, then I thought of the hymn -

         I heard the voice of Jesus say.

                       (Hymn 248)

There is the distinctness of what is coming out of this.

DAB  We might have thought, ‘Of course He opened His mouth’, but every word is for instruction.  These are God’s words; there is a reason why the Spirit chose to record that He opened His mouth.

AEM  It is interesting to see this put over against what we saw at the end of the last chapter, where it says, “he healed them”, Matt 4: 24.  It does not say there how He did it, whether it was by a touch or a word.  It does not say how He did those things.  Men would say it was a miracle to have had this infirmity for twelve years, as with the flux of blood, or over thirty years the man by the pool of Bethesda in John 5; but the Lord healed them.  Here He opened His mouth and He taught them.  There is something very blessed in that.

DJMcK  This is something that is available to us.  I was thinking about His going up the mountain.  That would speak to us of where He is now and the way He would speak currently.  We said this is not a check list; it is not recorded for us to see just by our works how merciful we are, or how poor in spirit.  It is about being in the stream of the Lord’s present word.  That is what we can experience, as it were, up the mountain.

AEM  Yes; it is where we are not otherwise occupied and we are not distracted by anything else.  It says as to the mount of transfiguration they saw “Jesus alone”, Matt 17: 8.  Those three men were here.  They had already been up this mountain.  It was something to be at the top of the mountain where the Lord just filled their gaze and they could hear.  If I had a check list, I might spend my time marking other people and probably not myself; that is the problem with the flesh.

DJMcK  It is attractive that it is the word of the Lord; these features require that.  They are very important features that we need to have, but the focus must be what the Lord would say to us and how He would teach us.

AEM  It is exactly that.  He might say, if we take the first one, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens”. That is the starting point, is that what your thought is?

DJMcK  Yes, and as we gain experience with Him, these features should grow organically.

AEM  What do you think it means by being “poor in spirit”?

DJMcK  I wonder if it is the same thing as not being puffed up.  Being poor in spirit means that I am not full of my own importance or full of what I want or what I need; it is having a receptive spirit.

AEM  We can look at the Lord and see, “the Son of man has not where he may lay his head”, Matt 8: 20. I am not thinking of it in a monetary sense; He claimed nothing.  Even when they accused Him of being certain things He said, “thou sayest”, chap 27: 11.  He did not claim things for Himself; He did not claim first places.  Sadly the scribes and Pharisees put on men burdens hard to bear, Matt 23: 4.  The Lord did not do that.  He Himself was the challenge for men, could they be “poor in spirit”?

DAB  I wondered what men would see.  How could we be “poor in spirit”?  That sort of person is something that men would despise.  There seems to be nothing to take account of.  The disciples that the Lord chose were there to be taken account of; one was a tax gatherer, another a simple fisherman.  That is the “poor in spirit”, that is who the Lord has taken up.

AEM  It is not a negative thing.  It is hard to get that out of our minds, and to see that we can be poor in spirit.  This is an attractive feature because the kingdom of the heavens opens up to such.  There is no hindrance in the way.

JES  Would it link with what the Lord speaks of elsewhere about the features of a little child, chap 18?  It is quite difficult in the world in which we live to get our minds away from the negative thought of being poor in spirit, but it is “of such”, chap 19: 14.  A child is dependent, and willing to be taught.  Is that the kind of spirit that the Lord is referring to here?  Not puffed up and full of myself, but dependent on the Lord and willing to be taught by Him as those who will inherit the kingdom.

AEM  Such a person does not claim things for themselves.  We can put ourselves in the way of the flow of grace that is coming from heaven.  Mr Robert Taylor gave an address on that verse, “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21); that is the “poor in spirit”.  It allows the blessing from God just to pour into such a heart.  The spirit of a little child is an interesting one, for of such is the kingdom of God.

JES  This really brings out that there is nothing in the way.  I was thinking of what you said about keeping yourselves in the love of God.  If we allow that, there cannot be anything in the way to stop it coming in.  Would that be the thought of being “poor in spirit”?  There is no baggage to hinder or to get in the way of things coming in.

AEM  That is good; I read recently a preaching where the preacher was using the age-old example of a road where one pavement is in sunshine and the other in darkness.  You can make the choice to cross the road, either way.  You can choose to be living in the love of God or you can choose to be in the darkness of the prince of this world.  You make the choice. 

SJC  We do not make the choices you are speaking about one hundred percent correctly straight away.  In the things of this world, if you go for a job, you need to tick every single box; but the Lord does not ask that.  He regards you and helps you through and lifts you to get you to that point.

AEM  That is helpful.  If we think, for example, of “the poor in spirit”, how can you tick that off a list?  You could not.  It is not a matter of whether you can recite the ten commandments, or you know a whole lot of the Psalms.  It is just that you are blessed if you are “poor in spirit”.  Sometimes we do get puffed up.  If we have a place particularly in the business world, we can quickly get out of this spirit, but the Lord would always say your blessing comes if you are “poor in spirit”.

DAB  Using the example mentioned, it is the first thing a prospective employer would ask of you, to puff yourself up.

ARH  I am glad of what has been said, but sometimes we have to say we have failed in this.  What the Lord says is, “My grace suffices”, 2 Cor 12: 9.  If you come back to that, then you will quickly be brought back into the right position.

AEM  The blessing is there.  Blessing is ready to come and to be poured out.  The Lord is simply saying here that this is how you find it.  He is so gracious.  I may have failed abysmally yesterday, but in the morning His blessing is there ready to be poured out again.

MAB  These blessings may be for a coming day, but they can be enjoyed now as well.  At the end of the paragraph, it says “for your reward is great in the heavens”.  Is it the hope that we have now that is the blessing?

AEM  I think so.  The one great comfort that I find is that the King of the coming world is the same King today.  He is not crowned by this world yet, but He is crowned by God and He has been given His place by God.  Is He the King to me?  What this says is this is how He becomes the King to me.  If I find my part in the kingdom I am ruled by the King.  We do not have to wait; that would be a shame.

MAB  We spoke of the tempter a couple of weeks ago, but the tempter cannot take what we hope for away.

AEM  No, the tempter has no entrance into this kingdom.  If you are enjoying it and doing these things and enjoying it, he has no access, because he has no access to the King.  We referred to that when we spoke of the temptations.  The Lord says, “in me he has nothing”, John 14: 30.

ARH  He might spoil the enjoyment of it, but he does not have access to the hope itself.  Do you think that is an important distinction? 

AEM  Say more about that because he can really spoil our enjoyment.

ARH  I have proved it in my life.   The tempter will take away your enjoyment as fast as he possibly can if you give him a foothold to do that. 

AEM  That is the dark side of the street.  I cross to that side more quickly than I like to think.

JES  I was thinking of what you are saying, that the Lord’s grace is still there.  There were two in Luke 24 who were going away.  They were very quickly going away from where they should have been.  Those words have always affected me: “Jesus himself drawing nigh” (v 15), and “he made as though he would go farther”, v 28.  He would have gone even farther with them, but His grace was still there to turn them round.  In the end their hearts were burning.

DAB  I was thinking too that the Samaritan “came up to” the man who was left in a “half-dead state”, Luke 10: 30, 34.  That man had gone further than the dark side of the street.

JES  As you say, it is attractive and the Lord is far more gracious than we give Him credit for.  That is not to say that we should test Him.  He knows our hearts and He knows where we would like to be.  His grace is great and knows no end.

DAB  We are enjoying Acts locally.  Jesus says, “it is hard for thee to kick against goads”, Acts 26: 14.  He appealed to Saul even there.  Saul was in the darkness; the conscience would always prick you when you are there.  You look back and realise that the Lord was there knocking, as we have for Laodicea, Rev 3: 20.

AEM  I was thinking of that.  For a believer with the Spirit who loves the Lord, giving in to the tempter is not a comfortable place.  A believer is really spoilt for this world.  We might not think so.  We might still go and do things, we can block out our faith for a bit, but we are spoilt for the world because we know there is something better, even if what we have of it is just something really small.  In verse 22 it says, “every one that is lightly angry with his brother”.  We might assent to that and agree it might be warranted; that is not how we should be.  The Lord says here, “Blessed the merciful”, “Blessed the peace-makers”.  This is the kind of person with whom the kingdom of the heavens is populated.

LAB  I think that is helpful.  These things are hard; I am very tested by them.  They are also straightforward.  When you come to Him, He opens His mouth and if we are filled by the Holy Spirit there will be no room for anything else but being “poor in spirit”.

AEM  I like that suggestion.  It should be straightforward to be merciful or to desire righteousness or to be meek; it should be quite easy.  Why is it not my first inclination?  It is because the flesh is in me.  We know One who has overcome that.

LAB  The Spirit would turn us to those things.

AEM  I think that.  If we turn to the Spirit and ask for His help in these things.  You cannot imagine you would be anything but “poor in spirit” if you allow the Holy Spirit His way.

DAB  The Spirit would say, “Give place to this man”, Luke 14: 9. 

AEM  He would show us Christ.  These fishermen that we have referred to looked up and they saw Him.  John, when he looked up by the banks of the Jordan, said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, John 1: 29.  What an exhortation.  We can exhort each other like that.

DAB  It is washing one another’s feet.

AEM  It may just be by speaking of Christ.

WBMcK  What would you say as to the persecution?  The Lord says, “Blessed they who are persecuted on account of righteousness”, and then, “when they may reproach and persecute you, and say every wicked thing against you, lying, for my sake. Rejoice and exult”.

AEM  This may immediately refer to the remnant that will be here on the earth when the saints are gone.  The persecution will be horrendous; it will be beyond anything that has been known in the world so far, as I understand it.  If you think what happened in World War II to the Jews, the persecution that will come will exceed that.  But if we apply it to our day, if the world does not want to have to do with us because of our love for Christ or because of our testimony, I think then we know a little of this.

WBMcK  I was thinking of those the Lord was speaking to actually here that may have been martyred or known persecution.  Whilst the Lord was here, they shared in it.  When they were here afterwards, they faced it.  The Lord’s grace is known when we recognise, when we understand, why.  We know that there is reward and benefit for that.  In a simple way, that is His grace.

AEM  He speaks of those losing things in this world, that they will receive manifold in the world to come.  Peter, for example, was here.  He later denied the Lord.  He said, ‘I will go into death for Him’ (Matt 26: 35), that there was no way He would stop him doing that; and then he denies Him three times, chap 26: 69-75.  He was not ready for the persecution that came, but the Lord is saying, ‘If you are persecuted, then yours is the kingdom of the heavens and you are blessed’.

WBMcK  It would encourage us.  Peter and others faced persecution.  We have not faced persecution like that.  Where you do experience anything of that, it should be an encouragement that it is because we belong to another kingdom.  We have no place in this world.

AEM  If this world in any way accepts us then we are not living properly in the kingdom of the heavens - if we are acceptable to men and they like us, and they like our company.  I am not suggesting we are awkward, but if we fit in easily, then we are not finding our part in this.  It is sobering. 

         There are two other things here that we should not miss.  There are two elements that bring us into very specific blessing.  In verse 8, we have, “Blessed the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.  And then in verse 9, “Blessed the peace-makers, for they shall be called sons of God”.

RMcK  Verse 8 links a little with what we had in the reading on Thursday night in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians: “For God has not called us to uncleanness, but in sanctification”, 1 Thess 4: 7.  That links with a pure heart: “the pure in heart, for they shall see God”.   We can be encouraged that it is an ongoing matter.  There are times of failure, but the blessing remains.  The privilege of seeing God is available when we find this purity of heart.

AEM  That is good, “they shall see God”.  Being “pure in heart” is not possible of ourselves.  We need divine help for that.  It is possible.  It would come down to our motives.  If my motive is simply to be here for Christ, then I shall see God.  What a privilege that is.

RMcK  You referred to Peter, and he is a good example.  When asked by the Lord who they said that He was, he said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”, Matt 16: 16.  At that point he was pure in heart; he had a view of the Man before him who was Christ, the Son of the living God.

AEM  It is seen in Christ.  When it says they shall see God I suppose what the Scripture means is that we shall see God in Christ. 

RSG  I was thinking about Ephesians 3: “being rooted and founded in love, in order that ye may be fully able to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge”, v 17-19.  All of this starts with love.  If we want to live our life for Christ it starts with appreciating the love that has been shown us.

AEM  I think that is good.   We spoke earlier about whether the Lord means more to me than work and family and everything else.  The real question is, do I love Him above those things?  It is not that I do not love family, but do I love Christ above all?  The love that we were shown at the beginning has been shown to us in an unfettered way.  There has been no limit to the love of God.  The hymn says -

         O the love of God is boundless,

                  Perfect, causeless, full and free!

                                 (Hymn 212)

Do I love this One above anything else?  That brings us on to the breadth and length and depth and height.

WBMcK  Being pure in heart is available to anyone.  Even the simplest affection is pure.  If affection is for Christ, that is “pure in heart”.  I understand what you said about loving Him more, but in one sense it is not about size.

AEM  He is everything.  Everything else is held in relation to that. 

WBMcK  I was thinking that, and we know what motives we have to do things.  It is usually rare that it is pure; it is usually mixed in some way.  We may have a number of reasons to do something, clearly mixed feelings.  Being pure in heart is a single affection for Christ.  It is not size or scale or complexity.

DAB  It is Mary.  She may not have understood much about the truth: “they have taken away my Lord”, John 20: 13.  That is the pureness of heart there.

AEM  I was thinking of the man in John 9.  He says they could say what they like: “One thing I know, that, being blind before, now I see”, John 9: 25.  I might say you can say what you like to me, but before I was a sinner, now I am saved.  This man did that.  That should not be able to be wrested away from you.  It keeps me pure in heart.

DAB  In both of those examples, the Lord then has to speak to them.

AEM  He speaks to them about the Son of God.

JES  What opened up to those two!  They shall see God.  What was revealed to Mary at the tomb, “my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God”, John 20: 17!  How quickly the man in John 9 progressed: one who became a prophet who ended up worshipping.  Those were persons who really progressed when they were shown these features.

AEM  It links with the next one, “Blessed the peace-makers, for they shall be called sons of God”.  That is where the Lord took that man and woman.  They knew a sense of peace.  This refers to peace-makers and that is possibly another challenge for us not to cause trouble or be awkward, but to make peace, and you start to know what it is to be sons of God.

DJMcK  I was thinking about being a peace-maker.  You have the example of the One who has “made peace by the blood of his cross”, Col 1: 20.  You might ask how being a peace-maker links with my place in sonship.  It is in Him.

AEM  It is interesting that when the Lord came into the room when they were gathered after He was risen the first thing He said was, “Peace be to you”, John 20: 19.  If there is not peace, then this does not follow very easily.  If there is peace everything is settled because Christ is the Centre, then everything else follows.


5th September 2021


Key to Initials:

D A Barlow, Sunbury; L A Barlow, Sidcup; M A Bedford, Witney; S J Croot, Buckhurst Hill; R S Gardiner, Aberdeen;
A R Hutson, Witney; D J McKay, Witney; E G McKay, Witney; R McKay, Witney; W B McKay, Witney; A E Mutton, Witney;
J E Smith, Strood.