Friday, October 23, 2015

Jesus' Meaning in the Beatitudes, Part II

This week my discussion of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-11) continues and we'll pick up at Matthew 6 which says Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.

Have I picked up any new meanings behind the translations of the original words used? Perhaps a little for this word. He uses the Greek word panao which means hunger or crave. 

Desparo, the Greek word Jesus used for thirst, can mean to thirst literally or figuratively.

Dekiosuna is the word from which we translate righteousness which means the state in which we are approved by God. It has to do with purity, rightness, integrity and virtue. 

In college I had filled most of my credits for the semester so I could take some less demanding classes. One class I took was advanced reading. The teacher taught us to look at synonyms of words and their connotations because they may mean nearly the same thing but there are different degrees of meaning. Some words can have a stronger message or a more negative or positive message. The word crave sounds like a deeper, on going hunger.If we crave righteousness we have an unquenchable appetite for it.

Jesus referred to himself as living water when he spoke to the woman at the well (John 4).

God is pleased with those who spiritually thirst and crave at state of purity, rightness, integrity and virtue because it indicates they acknowledge a spiritual void in their lives. They are ready to fill themselves on his teachings and take on his character and virtues.

Matthew 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. The word mercy translates from the Greek word eleamon which means you get what you give.

Currently I am reading a book about Lachlan Macquarie who served as governor of New South Wales (Australia) from 1810-1821.  This area was basically no more than a penal colony, Bottany Bay, where England shipped out convicts of all kinds to serve seven harsh years of punishment. Young children as young as 14 were sent to pay of crimes as insignificant as stealing a loaf of bread along with more hardened criminals including murderers. The system was highly unjust and for most the length of punishment lasted 7 years were up. When the seven years was up, though they had paid their debts, many were still prevented from living productive lives. Young girls who wanted to return home following serving time had no funds or skills to help them and many turned to prostitution. A group of wealthier residents called "The Exclusives" felt they were a superior class and wanted to keep the convicts in their place. 

Macquarie sought extensive reforms and is credited with turning the area from a penal colony to a free settlement. Under his watch he employed many former convicts, establishing schools, a home and wool mill for young women to help them earn their passage back, organizations and opportunities for former convicts to make a new life. If anyone exhibited mercy in an unjust society, it was Macquarie who soon won the hearts of the people.

As we try to be more like Christ, we learn to extend mercy to others. It shows compassion and willingness to set aside rigid rules and see the person behind the act. The more we put it into practice the more we reflect Christ. When people see us as compassionate, they are more likely to extend mercy back to us, though that is not why we put it into practice.

Verse 8  Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God..

Pure translates from the word katharos which means clean (figuratively) from anything that soils.

Horao is the word from which "see God" translates. It means to perceive, become acquainted with, care for or pay heed to.

Gold is purified by putting it through a fire to burn all impurities. We truly begin to clearly "see" God and understand him we we allow him to work on impurities that would stand between us and him.

We'll pick up next week on the remaining verses. As always, be sure and share your comments.

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