“Meek, Hungry and Merciful”

In the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus indicated the righteousness required to enter the kingdom of God. He warned, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). The Pharisaical righteousness Jesus condemned is an outward righteousness that does not come from a changed heart. The scribes and Pharisees “appeared” to be righteous, but their heart was far from God. Jesus warned them of judgment, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).
In the beatitudes (5:1-10) we read of the attitudes and actions of those who will enter the kingdom of God. Bound for the Promised Land are the are meek (vs.5), the merciful (vs.7), and those who long for righteousness (vs.6). These are not different groups of people, but one group who possesses all of these characteristics. One cannot earn a place in the kingdom of God by trying to be and do these things identified in the beatitudes. Those described here have been blessed by God with salvation, and therefore, able to produce these Christ-like fruits. Jesus said it this way in John 3:3, … “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”