Matthew 5:8 - (Jesus said) "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
As a professor, I give assignments to my students. I can't do that here, but here's a suggestion for you. First, read Jesus' Beatitudes in Matthew 5. Second, read Psalm 24. Notice how they complement one another. Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs is a professor of New Testament at Concordia Seminary here in St. Louis. He describes parallels between Psalm 24 and today's text in his commentary on Matthew. Both texts talk about going up a mountain. In Psalm 24, it's Mt. Zion. In Matthew 5, it's the mountain where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. Both Bible passages talk about being pure in heart. Both passages promise that people who are pure in heart will see God.
Dr. Gibbs writes, "Jesus speaks good news to those who know what it means to seek the true and living God and to go up on His mountain to worship. He blesses in the present time and for the last day, those to whom God has thus revealed Himself." So until that day, when the bell tolls, until that day when you and I will see Jesus face-to-face, until that day, the Word of God gives you a pure heart.
Martin Luther described it this way: "What is meant by a pure heart is this: one that is watching and pondering what God says and replacing his own ideas with the Word of God. This alone is pure before God. ... Therefore, though a common laborer, a shoemaker or a blacksmith may be dirty and sooty or may smell because he is covered with dirt and pitch, still he may sit at home and think, "My God has made me a man. He has given me my house, wife and child and has commanded me to love them and to support them with my work." Note that he is pondering the Word of God in his heart, and though he stinks outwardly, inwardly he is pure incense before God, but if he attains the highest purity, so that he also takes hold of the Gospel and believes in Christ, without this, that purity is impossible. Then he is pure completely. Inwardly, in his heart toward God and outwardly toward everything under him on earth."
Your time is valuable. Your eternity is especially valuable. Don't despair because your heart is deeply sinful. Look to Jesus. Let His words create in you a clean heart, a pure heart, and then you shall see God. Here poet Martin Schalling has something to say: "Lord, let at last Thine angels come to Abram's bosom bear me home, that I may die unfearing, and in its narrow chamber, keep my body safe in peaceful sleep until Thy reappearing. And then, from death awaken me, that these mine eyes with joy may see, oh Son of God, Thy glorious face, my Savior and my Fount of grace. Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend, and I will praise Thee without end."
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, make us into people who are pure in thought, word, and deed before You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "Blessed are the Pure in Heart," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Does a "clean conscience" have anything to do with having a pure heart?
2. Pure heart? See God? Why are those two things placed together?
3. How do you keep your heart pure? What makes it impure?
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