Uplifting commentary on the Gospels, Acts, early Apostolic history, and a life of discipleship.
People say, “You can’t take it with you.” Yeshua contradicted that adage by citing the common Jewish belief that resources given to the needy will be repaid and rewarded in the Messianic Era and the World to Come. “Treasures in heaven” does not refer to literal treasure stored up someplace beyond the sky, instead, it means “treasure with God.” That is to say, “Invest in the things of God and He will reward you.”
As a rule, disciples of Yeshua should not draw attention to their religious practices or acts of piety. More than anyone, we should be discreet, modest, and humble in our religious devotion, doing everything only for the sake of God’s eyes, not for the sake of what people will think of us.
Yeshua taught his disciples to expect persecution. He said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). By saying “theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Yeshua indicated that those who endure persecution for his sake will find entrance into the kingdom.
Yeshua said to his disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Yeshua’s beatitude about peacemakers contradicted the first-century zealot impulse that called for taking up armed resistance against Rome. Several of His disciples embraced the zealot ideal. The beatitude about peacemaking attempted to turn their thoughts away from armed revolution.
Biblical Hebrew uses the word “heart” to refer to the mind, the core from which a human being thinks, reasons, and acts. Why does Yeshua say that the pure in heart will see God? According to the Torah’s laws of ritual purity, only the Levitically pure may enter into the holy Temple where God dwells. Levitical purity is a prerequisite to entering God’s presence.
Yeshua teaches, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Those who are merciful and compassionate towards others are blessed because they will receive mercy and compassion from God. Conversely, one who does not show mercy toward others should not expect to receive mercy from heaven.
Yeshua taught his disciples that those who hunger and thirst now are especially blessed because they will enjoy being satisfied in the Messianic Era. Does this refer to the poor and needy who literally hunger from lack of food and thirst from lack of clean water? Or does it refer to a spiritual hunger and thirst?
Yeshua says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Who are the meek? The Greek text behind this saying implies one who is mild-mannered, gentle, soft, and passive. Why are the passive and meek-hearted destined to possess the earth?
When you lose someone or when your heart is broken and sorrowful, you obviously don’t feel happy about it. But Yeshua teaches “happy are those who mourn.” In what way should a mourner feel “happy,” and when will mourners find this promised consolation?
Yeshua says that the poor will inherit the kingdom. That sounds great if you are poor. But what if you aren’t? Our Master Yeshua had a divine mandate to proclaim good news to the poor. He declared the poor to be inheritors of the Messianic Era.