What does Jesus really want?
What does Jesus really want from those who choose to follow Him? If you are a Believer, how would you answer that? If you said to take a look at what Jesus taught at the start of His Sermon on the Mount, that would be a great answer! In the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5, Jesus offers some pretty intensive discipleship training. He tells us we will be blessed when we exhibit these vital characteristics as His disciples.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God. Matthew 5:6-8
In these three Beatitudes, Jesus tells us how we will be blessed when we exhibit these characteristics of a fully devoted Christ-Follower.
1) When I earnestly seek God’s desire for my life, I will be fully content. (Matthew 5:6)
To be “filled” is to be fully content or satisfied. If you are not fully content these days, and a lot of people aren’t, then maybe you are pursuing the wrong things. Jesus says we will be fully content when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. What are you hungry for these days? Most of us would answer that question with something material, but Jesus’ answer is deeper than that. He wants us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Righteousness points to a right relationship with God and with others. That is to seek His will and His desires for our lives. In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees were notorious for their religious exhibition, but Jesus was far more concerned with their heart’s condition. The same is true for us! He wants us to seek Him and His will, above all else.
19 Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. 1 Chronicles 22:19
Are you hungry and thirsty today? You may have plenty of food and water… in this great country, we are blessed to have that. But I wonder if you are hungry and thirsty for righteousness… because only Jesus offers that. (John 6:35; John 7:38; Psalm 42:2; Psalm 107:9)
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33. There is nothing in this world that will really satisfy us apart from Jesus Christ.
2) When I experience God’s mercy, I will express mercy toward others! (Matthew 5:7)
What does it mean to be “merciful”? To be merciful is to show forgiveness and compassion to those in need. Could you use some mercy? We all can!
When you experience God’s mercy, you can’t help but show it to others. The Pharisees were not particularly merciful… in fact, they were highly judgmental; and Jesus called them out for that…. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13
Jesus wants us to learn what it means to be merciful. So what does that mean? Who better to teach us about mercy than God Himself? We can be merciful because God was merciful to us first. 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Titus 3:5a. Because God has blessed us with His mercy, we can show mercy to others.
Have you experienced God’s gift of mercy? How will you express mercy toward others? Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone to whom you might show compassion? Will you use that moment as an opportunity to make an impression and leave a mark for Jesus Christ? Jesus says, as Believers, we must show mercy.
3) When I am saved by God’s grace, God will continue to transform me into a fully devoted Christ-Follower. (Matthew 5:8)
It is clear that once we accept Christ as Savior, we will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
This declaration and belief saves us and thankfully, we will see God. But that doesn’t mean that God is done with us; He continues to shape us and make us into His disciples.
The Greek word for “pure” in this beatitude is catharsis. This word can refer specifically to being purified by fire or by pruning. We are truly “pure,” when we have been saved by God’s grace though Christ; but are being sanctified by His refining fire and His pruning. (Matthew 3:11; John 15:5)
The Greek word for “heart” in Matthew 5:8 is kardeeah. The heart is the place where our deepest desires dwell; it is the spiritual center of our lives. Jesus wants us to have our hearts focused on Him… to have an uncompromising desire to please God in everything we do. Nothing matters more. (Psalm 51:10)
Are you allowing God to continue to purify and prune you? Are you allowing Him to produce good fruit in you? When you do, you will be blessed!
For much more, click here to watch Blessed - Part 3 - Blessed When Hungry.