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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Word: Pure

Series:The Word

Matthew 5:8 ESV

Leviticus 3:6-11 ESV

I’ve known a few sweet souls in my lifetime.

They are the kind of people who don’t play mind games with others.

They don’t pretend they know something when they don’t know.

Love is continuously on their lips and in their hearts.

I’m thinking of one sweet soul who has the power to melt my heart and any heart of stone with just one smile.

That sweet soul is very very blessed and he blesses those around him.

Matthew 5:8 tells us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Today we refer to Matthew 5 as the sermon Jesus gave on the mountain, or the Sermon on the Mount. While we may not find the principles shocking because we’ve heard them many times, we need to understand that when Jesus first preached these words, nothing like it had been said before in quite the same way.

In Matthew 5:8 the pure in heart that Jesus referred to were those who were completely honest. They don’t water-down or sugar coat the truth. They possess an inner quality of simplicity and truth.

In addition to that they are not double-minded. They focus on love in its purest form.

The audience Jesus spoke to in the first century were accustomed to hearing about purity in the context of ceremonies and rituals.

That’s why Jesus specifically spoke of the pure in heart. Jesus was trying to reach the audience on a deeper level. He wanted them to realize God was personal.

The issue was that the purity they were accustomed to was very different. For us today it’s difficult to even understand where the First Century audience was coming from.

For example, the Hebrew people were accustomed to going to Temple and offering an animal sacrifice to atone for sin to attain purity. A portion of the sacrifice was burned on the altar with incense. The remainder was given to the priests. For the fellowship offering (in Hebrew the zevah shelamim) in Leviticus 3:6-11 they knew, “If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the Lord, you are to offer a male or female without defect. If you offer a lamb, you are to present it before the Lord, lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar. From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the Lord: its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. The priest shall burn them on the altar as a food offering presented to the Lord.”

That was one example they had of purity.

What Jesus said to them about the pure in heart was radical. While we understand the term pure in heart, they had no context for understanding it.

For the people in the audience listening to Jesus’ sermon, purity as a way to fellowship with God was done through the priests on the altar.

What Jesus spoke about in the Sermon on the Mount referred to a personal way to fellowship with God.

Think of it this way…Jesus’ words were light years away from anything they had been taught before about purity and seeing God.

Even today, though we may have heard Matthew 5:8 preached on hundreds of times, we may still struggle to understand how those who have a pure heart will see God.

Think of my young friend.

He doesn’t have a ‘mean’ bone in his body.

He loves to laugh. He loves hugs. He loves his twin brother (a LOT) and he loves his family. He is not accustomed to hearing mean or harsh words.

He has a pure heart.

He loves Jesus (and everyone else).

He will see God.

So, once again, BLESSED are those who are (or have) a pure heart.

More than two thousand years after Jesus said those words, I know my heart wants to be with God and wants Jesus every minute of every day, I still fail to love…really love others in the way God wants me to love.

That’s where Jesus comes in.

When we turn and ask, Jesus forgives.

So back to the sermon Jesus preached to the multitudes on the mount…are they so very different than us today?

Granted they heard the message of the pure in heart being blessed and seeing God directly from Jesus, but we have the benefit of having volumes and volumes written about it.

Does that mean it’s different for us?

Across the board I don’t think so.

The key is still genuine love for God and genuine love for others.

While my boy with a sweet soul has a body doesn’t always work like the bodies of others his age, the love he gives and receives makes a difference in every life he touches.

Love is what makes a difference.

Spiritual Practice: Love Someone

Change one persons life today by loving them.

In God, Deborah


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