Dec 27

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His mission was to change the world by changing the mind of mankind. He desired to conquer the world with no bloodshed, but his own! How different from all those before him and all those to follow him, who desired to conquer the world. His greatest teaching was done from the side of a mountain, “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,” (Matt. 5:1-2).
Throughout history, great men have given what men rightfully call great speeches; here are a few words from one such speech from Winston Churchill given in 1940: “…we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.” This speech is considered one of the great speeches of all time, and it roused the spirit of the English people during World War II. But, it was a call to arms; it was a call for bloodshed, necessary bloodshed to be sure.
Now, notice how different the humble words of the Master Teacher are, which he spoke from the side of a mountain: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:3-5). Did you notice the key words? They are: “poor in spirit” “mourn,” and “meek.” Not words generally associated with conquering the world, but these are the very words that Jesus intended to do just that; he intended to conquer the minds, and to redirect the spirits of the meek. At the same time, he taught that these would be the truly “blessed!” No, he is not teaching “happy,” as “happy” depends on circumstances. If the circumstances are good, you are happy, but if the circumstances bad, you are not happy. But the “blessed” of which Jesus spoke does not depend on circumstances, as one is truly “blessed” in all circumstances; just as James wrote: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (trials, frw): for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12). Yes, the word “blessed” is the same Greek word in both texts and the word happy falls much too short of what Jesus and James are addressing. They are addressing a spiritual relationship with God, even our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. A blessedness which allows us to: “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trial, frw)” (James 1:2). Yes, even in the midst of trials we are blessed!
The key words of Jesus’ teaching, “poor in spirit,” “mourn,” and “meek,” point to the inner qualities of man, and this is what Jesus came to change and through this change, he would change the world. Unlike others, the men who tried to conquer the world and did conquer much of the world by force and bloodshed; such as: Genghis Khan, who was one of the most brutal leaders the world has ever seen, but he was one of the most successful and founded the Mongol Empire, yet, where is it now? Then, there was Napoleon, a prominent military and political leader of France who basically dominated continental Europe through superior military tactics, with bloodshed, but we all remember his Waterloo! Finally, there was Hitler the leader of Germany who committed mass genocide during World War II and who convinced the German people they could conquer the world through shedding of blood. But, we all know the result.
But look, there is Jesus sitting on the side of a mountain talking about: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt. 5:7-11).
Jesus, so unlike others, yet, so like us all! The difference is as he said: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). His kingdom still stands; he is still changing the world one mind at a time through the gospel of Christ!

— Frank R. Williams

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