Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
“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 children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- Matthew 5:1-12
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
- James 1:22-25
“Several years ago I came across an eloquent albeit convicting piece entitled ‘The Lesson.’
“Then Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and gathering them around him, he taught them, saying. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are they that mourn, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are they who thirst for justice, Blessed are you when persecuted, Blessed are you when you suffer, Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven.
Then Simon Peter said … Do we have to write this down?
And Andrew said … Are we supposed to know this?
And James said … Will we have a test on this?
And Philip said … I don’t have any paper.
And Bartholomew said … Did we have to turn this in?
And John said … The other disciples didn’t have to learn this.
And Matthew said … Can I go to the boys’ room?
And Judas said … What does this have to do with real life?
“And Jesus wept.
“Sometimes I think I can still hear Him weeping.”
- Charles R. Swindoll, The Finishing Point
Hey, people! There’s going to be a test.
And we will march up to the gates of heaven like we owned the place, and God will say, “I never knew you.”
There is going to be a test. Do you have a meaningful relationship with Jesus? There is going to be a test.
I don’t know if the quoted quote from Swindoll is a condemnation of lukewarm Christianity or a mockery of the school system. Maybe the unknown author that Swindoll quoted was mocking both at the same time. The youth of my day had no desire to learn, most of them. As I observe the youth of today, that apathy has gotten worse.
My daughter-in-law asked me for some math help a few weeks ago. That showed she had the desire, since she asked someone who knew something about math. She read an on-line homework question to me and I replied, “That sounds like one of my old professors, a couple actually. If it’s not in the book and not covered in class, I’ll cover it on the test.” You see, she didn’t have enough information to answer the professor’s question. I then told her what the question sounded like and what might be missing. She needed a table correlating two strings of data to which the question alluded. She then exclaims, “Oh!” She now knew that she needed more information, so she started clicking her mouse on everything in the question and a table popped up with the data that she needed. The link was not marked. The question did not say to look for a link to the data. The data was there – if you understood that you needed the data and you had the desire to find it.
In Christianity, we have the Bible. To those who are not true believers, it’s a very long book with weird stories that sometimes don’t make sense and a lot of it is a bunch of rules that are outdated, that the world ignores. But, for the seeker and the true believer, the links are there, they are just not marked, and there’s no hint that they exist. But, you can find the links to the missing data, the data that makes the entire Bible make sense, only if you accept Jesus as your Savior, trusting Him without reservation.
Once you read the Bible after accepting Jesus into your heart, you will discover what the Bible means, but not all at once. Sometimes, there are links within links. It takes reading it again to dig deeper, and then again. You might need to study, study hard. You might need to take notes, but the Bible will become alive in your life, once you have accepted Jesus and the Holy Spirit enters your life, guiding that Bible study.
And do you remember the teacher’s pet in school? What did the teacher’s pet do that no one else in class did? He or she asked questions. They may or may not have been ingratiating themselves with the teacher, but they were trying to figure out something that did not come through clearly during the lecture.
That’s where prayer comes in. We can all become teacher’s pets. God practically demands it. We are to become joint heirs. We are to become adopted sons and daughters of God. To do that adequately, we must know a little about the family. We must talk to our Father in Heaven, so that He can answer those questions. That also means being quiet during part of our prayer time, so that God can answer those questions.
Wake up, people!
There’s going to be a test.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.