Living in God’s Kingdom

KEY VERSE: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” —Luke 6:36


SEEING THE MULTITUDES, Jesus “went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them.” (Matt. 5:1,2) Luke’s account says, He came down [from a mountain) with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples,” and taught them. (Luke 6:17-20) When he had completed his work of healing the people, he no doubt climbed up a little way into the mountain, gathering his newly chosen apostles closely around him while the multitude spread out on the plain below to listen to his words.—vss. 12-16; Matt. 5:1-12

Luke 6, verses 20 to 38 are familiarly known as The Beatitudes—which is not a Scriptural term but is a derivative of a root word meaning “to make happy.” Many of the declarations listed by our Master, Jesus, teach his followers how to be happy, or blessed, in the Lord—how to please God and to receive his blessing. Conversely, Jesus also lists a series of “woes” which will befall those who ignore God’s commandments, and therefore they will not receive God’s favor. The standards are very high, and difficult to live by. Only a perfect man could actually keep these standards, but they are the criteria for which we should strive. Jesus lived by these rules, and he is our role model.

During the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, people will gradually be able to meet these prerequisites, as they walk up the highway of holiness. (Isa. 35:8) Since, at that time, the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28), and with the help of the Ancient Worthies (Ps. 45:16) who will be their guides and teachers as they walk toward perfection, mankind will actually be able to see these standards taking shape in their characters. Today, in this evil world in which Satan is the prince, and all flesh is in a fallen condition (Rom. 3:10), the Beatitudes are a standard which we must reach out for, but can never fully grasp. How thankful we are for God’s mercy, which reckons our faith and our efforts toward perfection as righteousness.—Rom. 8:1

“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.” (vs. 20) Is there something intrinsically good about being poor? Can no rich men please God? Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”—Matt. 19:23-26

A rich man may have too many material blessings to be willing to lay them down in sacrifice to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. However, a few have done so, because ‘with God all things are possible!’ However, Matthew’s version of this Beatitude may be closer to Jesus’ meaning: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3) To be poor in spirit has the thought of being meek and teachable, and very pliable in the hands of the Great Potter, who desires to shape and form us in the image of his Son.

Our Key Verse climaxes the Lord’s lesson. It sets the standard of mercy before us as Godlike, and the Scriptures affirm this thought. When Moses asked God to show him his glory, Jehovah did pass by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Exod. 34:6) This vision of God caused Moses to bow his head toward the earth, and to worship his Creator. It should cause us to do the same, and should be a benchmark in life to set as our goal.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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