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What do Kingdom people look like?

Shane Willard

Page 2 of 11
Now a couple of things I want to unpackage, particularly Verse 6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. The first thing we want to understand is the idea of blessed. What does it mean to be blessed? Well you've got to understand in the Hebrew language there are two words for blessed. The first word is the word Baruch. Baruch is a blessing from God to you; or from you to God; so you could say: Baruch ashem el shaddai - blessed be the name of the Lord - that is a blessing from you to God; Or you could say: God blessed me, and you could use the word baruch - God baruched me - he blessed me. So it's a blessing from God to you; or it's a blessing from you to God.

The other word for blessed is the word Ashri. Ashri is happiness, as a result of right decisions. Both of them are translated 'blessed' in the Bible; so whether it's Baruch, or whether it's Ashri, it translates to blessed. Let me give you an example, Psalm 1 says this: Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of mockers, for his delight's in the law of the Lord, and on his Lord does he meditate day and night. The word there is not Baruch, that word is Ashri. In other words, happy is someone who chooses to keep the right company.

Another scripture says: where there's no vision, people perish; but he who chooses to keep the Torah, that man is blessed. Again, the word is not Baruch, its Ashri. In other words, happy is someone who chooses to do things God's way. Happy is someone who chooses to do these things. It's not like there's some magical thing, that God just all of a sudden blesses people. No, that is true, and we ought to thank God for that, sometimes God just blesses us; but more often than not, God has set the laws of the universe in motion, and when we keep those things, we are happy as a result of it.

Now in Matthew, in the Hebrew version of Matthew, the word he uses for bless there is Ashri (and for all the beatitudes); so in other words, he says: happy is someone who is poor in spirit. Happy is someone who chooses not to be long-winded. Happy is someone who chooses not to love to hear the sound of their own voice. Happy is someone who chooses to mourn. Happy is someone who chooses to identify with the suffering of others. It says: happy are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. This one he says: happy is someone who chooses to hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they'll be filled.

Now there are two concepts here: 1) what is righteousness; and 2) what is pure in heart? So let's cover the 'pure in heart' one first. Now to understand pure in heart, there's two words: Tumah and Tahor. Everybody's either Tumah or Tahor in this culture. Tumah means: unclean, contaminated or impure; Tahor means: clean, sanctified or pure. So here's the basics of Tumah and Tahor:

There were 613 commands in Leviticus. Now those are what made a person unclean or clean; and when you were unclean, you had to have a sacrifice then, to become clean. So what did man do with it, and what was the point? The point was is that we need a saviour. We cannot save ourselves. Something else has to be sacrificed for us - that was the point. What did man do with it? Man made it into a complicated system of laws, that told people who were in and who was out - and that was never the point. They made 3,000 extra oral laws, to go on top of the 613; and so here was the problem - when you broke any of their laws, then you were considered Tumah. How did you become clean? You had to have a sacrifice. Where could you get a sacrifice? Conveniently, you could buy it from them; so the harder they made it to be clean - the richer they got. So what they did is, they used religious guilt, in order to make money. We would never do that would we?

So they used religious guilt in order to make money. Jesus shows up and begins to turn the whole thing upside down. He shows up, and a prostitute washes His feet with her hair. He says: oh, you're faith has forgiven all your sins; that turned this upside down! There's a paralysed guy lowered in from the roof, and it says that Jesus saw the faith of his friends, and proclaimed his sins forgiven - so that turned that upside down. Why? What did they need to be forgiven of? No, you've got to go to the temple, you've got to have a sacrifice. Your priest has to do all this for you. Jesus said: no, I see their heart. He began to turn their concepts of unclean and clean upside down. He blew apart their idea of who was in and who was out. As a matter of fact, in one place He was talking to a group of people who thought they were all in, and He says: hey, listen, at My banqueting table, many will come from the north, the east, the south and the west - but you who actually think you're in, will be the ones shut out.