This past Fall our adult Sunday School class was greatly blessed by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson’s video course on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). The feedback I received on the series was outstanding! So, what is next?
Often we experience a great teaching ministry and are too quick to want to move on. We can become information addicts of a sort. We learned about this topic, know we want to learn about another… It is great to learn! But we must embrace a more biblical, in particular Hebrew concept of learning while we expand our biblical data base.
One of my favorite comments on the Beatitudes is from E.B. Pusey – an English clergyman from the 19th century. In commenting on the place of the Beatitudes at the very front of Jesus’ teaching ministry he says:
“[Jesus] seems to say, by the place which He assigns to them, ‘Of such as these, and these only, is my kingdom: this is the alphabet to be learned by my disciples: whoso learneth not these first precepts will be turned back by other [precepts], which he will meet hereafter: look well at them, acknowledge them, as at least to be worked into your souls hereafter, and so follow Me.’
Think of the Beatitudes as the Christian alphabet – I love that. Are the words of your life spelled with these letters? This year, resolve to write the script of your life with these characters:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Which half of those Beatitudes do you tend to focus on more frequently? The things you must be, or the things you want to experience? Being meek, or inheriting the earth? Deeply and earnestly desiring more righteousness, or being filled? The precepts – the commands as to our engagements, are the first half. Pusey’s alphabet contains the letters ‘poor in spirit, mournful, meek, longing to be more righteous, merciful, pure in heart, peaceable, and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Let’s individually and as a church family spell 2017 with those letters!
 Pusey, E.B., Selections from the Writings of E.B. Pusey (New York: E. and J.B. Young and Company, 1883), p. 126.