The Beatitudes are familiar to believers and non-believers alike, and phrases such as “the meek will inherit the earth” have made their way into popular culture. My deeper appreciation for them was developed many years ago when I purchased a used edition of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones’ large work, “Studies in The Sermon on the Mount”. I have since learned Dr. Jones’ book was a compilation of sixty sermons preached at Westminster Chapel in London over a period of a little more than a year. The Beatitude portion accounted for thirteen sermons, which is extensive considering the brief wording of these important statements.
In his introduction Dr. Jones suggested the Sermon on the Mount was the “best means of evangelism. Surely we all ought to be urgently concerned about this at the present time. The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns to attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’” Something tell me Dr. Jones knew the meaning of “100% Jesus” long before organic was cool.
The Beatitudes might well be viewed as core values for the Christian life and the foundation of every moral and ethical application that follows. Indeed, this is how I see them. They are the two greatest commandments in longhand, and every time I study them I discover new truths I somehow overlooked before.