Summary: This week, I want to define our terms – “blessing,” “hunger and thirst,” “righteousness,” and “filled,” and then look at a story that Jesus told to help his disciples understand what true hunger looks like.
The Jesus Manifesto: Hunger for Holiness
Chenoa Baptist Church
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Hungry Mountain Men
A couple of years ago, I did something that was way out of my comfort zone. This city boy went to the mountains. Two friends and I drove to Wyoming, then went fifty miles off road to the trailhead, and then hiked nine hours up into the Tetons with fifty pound packs on our back. We camped at the tree line in view of the continental divide. We were the only humans there…with the elk…and snakes and bears…oh my.
It probably had something to do the altitude but I was dizzy the first few days and had no appetite. I managed to eat some jerky but really didn’t eat much during my mountain adventure.
As we hiked back down and into an open field, it started to hail on us. There was nowhere to hide so I just crouched down, yelling “ouch,” and waited for it to pass. But that’s when my stomach decided to come alive and started growling. I was hungry. Actually, I was really hungry. I felt a rumbly in my tumbly.
When we got to the car, my friend had heard about a restaurant about an hour away that had amazing food. I sat in the back of the truck, my stomach turning back flips and letting me know that an hour was too long to wait.
When we got to the restaurant, we must have been a sight. We hadn’t showered or shaved in a week. We truly looked like mountain men. They brought us an appetizer – tortellini. We devoured it. They had steak and I had a tuna steak that was bigger than my plate. With a salad and baked potato.
I looked at the plate and thought that there was no way I could eat all of that food. And then I ate every last bite of all that food! They rolled me back out to the truck and I took a nap in the back seat.
We ate like we were starving. But the truth was, we were just hungry. I’ve never actually been “starving” in my life, well, at least not for food.
We are continuing our summer sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the first twelve verses known as the Beatitudes.
We have now looked at the first three Beatitudes.
* “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) The kingdom belongs to those who realize that they are spiritual bankrupt.
* Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Once we understand that we bring nothing to our salvation except that sin that nailed Jesus to the cross, we will feel deep sorrow over that sin. We are called to confess and repent and God extends forgiveness based on the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, in our place, to pay our sin debt.
These two Beatitudes will lead to a posture of heart marked by humility, kindness, gentleness, and grace:
* “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
So, how did your “MeekWeek” go? I talked to several people that admitted that they didn’t exhibit the virtue of meekness very well this past week. I did well at the post office but not so well with the group of kids that were spraying me at the pool!
Let me encourage you. Being meek is not natural for most of us. It’s okay, that’s why we need to be yoked to Jesus and allow Him to grow the fruit of meekness in us.
The first three beatitudes paint a picture of a person that has been broken in the best possible way. A follower of Jesus is one that has been beautifully broken of their pride, their self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness and see their deep need of God’s grace.
They find themselves empty, which leads us to the promise of the fourth beatitude:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
In the Greek, this verse contains only ten words. But in these ten words we find a summary statement of the entire Gospel! In fact, there is so much to learn from this verse will be camping out in it for a couple of weeks.
Before we dive in, let me point out something that is very encouraging to me. All the other beatitudes promise a blessing for the virtue itself. If you mourn, you will be comforted. But in this promise, Jesus says all you have to do is want it, desire it, go after it, and you get the blessing.
This week, I want to define our terms – “blessing,” “hunger and thirst,” “righteousness,” and “filled,” and then look at a story that Jesus told to help his disciples understand what true hunger looks like.