This week we are continuing with the sixth Beatitude: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Please review the questions posed by John Stott in The Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character.
This Beatitude draws our attention to the purity of the internal, not the external. The Law, given by God to Moses, was obsessed with outward ritual purity. In regards to priests, the Law provides that “no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.” Lev. 21:18-20. Appropriate sacrifices were only those lambs without blemish. cf. Lev. 4:32. And the Law was very specific as to outward uncleanliness resulting from skin disease or bodily discharges. Lev. 13, 15. As Bailey points out in Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes (pp.81-83), the Mishnah (the oral Torah) has over two hundred pages concerning exterior cleanliness. But, for Jesus, the outward cleanliness accounted for nothing. As he harangued the Jewish leaders of his time: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full or extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matt 23:25-28. Or as God told Samuel, the LORD does not judge on outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7. As we look at the pure of heart this week, think through those areas where we still obsess over external cleanliness while neglecting internal purity.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is baked potato bar. Discussion about 6:45. Please bring a friend. Hope to see you here.
“Who can ascend the hill of the Lord? *Psalm 24:3-6
and who can stand in his holy place?”
“Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, *
who have not pledged themselves to falsehood, nor sworn by what is a fraud.
They shall receive a blessing from the Lord *
and a just reward from the God of their salvation.”
Such is the generation of those who seek him, *
of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.