Sunday, November 18, 2007

"...these sinners, these followers of Jesus..."

I am nearly done reading James Montgomery Boice's Christ's Call to Discipleship. This book has been very helpful to me. I’m kind of on a mission to learn as much as I can about the meaning of "discipleship," and this book will take it's place among the essentials on my reading list.

In the meantime, I've recently begun journaling through the "sermon on the mount" [Matt. 5-7]. I’ve been meditating on the beatitudes, and it so happens that Boice spends some time with these verses, as they are in essence a portrait of Christlikeness.

With regard to the first beatitude ("Blessed are the poor in spirit") Boice turns to A. W. Tozer for these words:
The blessed ones who possess the kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have uprooted from their hearts all sense of possessing.... They have reached an inward state paralleling the outward circumstances of the common beggar on the streets of Jerusalem; that is what the word "poor" as Christ used it actually means. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things.
Regarding the sixth beatitude ("blessed are those who mourn"), Boice turns to Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
These men without possessions or power, these strangers on the earth, these sinners, these followers of Jesus, have in their life with him renounced their own dignity, for they are merciful.... They take upon themselves the distress and humiliation and sin of others. They have an irresistible love for the down-trodden, the sick, the wretched, the wronged, the outcast and all who are tortured with anxiety.... If any man falls into disgrace, the merciful will sacrifice their own honor to shield him, and take his name upon themselves. They will be found consorting with publicans and sinners, careless of the shame they will incur thereby.

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