“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
You know the routine. People are on your way over and you’ve got just a few minutes to tidy up before guests arrive. The house is a mess, stuff is everywhere, and you need to pick it up before everyone gets here, so you grab the clutter from the counter, make a pile, and shove it in a drawer or a closet.
So no one can see your mess and everyone who comes in will think you’re clean.
Everything is going just fine, until that one friend who is a little too comfortable at your house, decides to look around and open that one door and find all of your junk shoved into a closet.
Don’t act like that hasn’t happened to you!
We try to appear cleaner on the outside than we really are.
Again, with this beatitude, Jesus is helping people see what really matters when it comes to Kingdom living. During this time, there was so much religious ritual that focused more on external than it did on the internal.
One of the most obvious was the cleansing ritual that took place in the mikveh. A Mikveh was a gathering place for living water (yes, Living Water) where a Jew would enter in for a cleansing bath after some type of impurity. There was an actual ritual of being immersed in living water to be cleansed of your impurity. Some would enter in the mikveh frequently because they believed that was what cleansed them of their impurity.
Jews were more concerned with the physical cleansing in the mikveh than they were with the baptism of the heart. In other words, a beautiful ritual that was meant to point to Jesus, actual Living Water, became more important than the meaning behind it. Many believed it was the act of entering the Mikveh that cleansed you rather than the repentance within your heart.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” (Matthew 23:25-26)
While we may not be lining up in front the Temple today to wait our turn in the Mikveh, there are many things we do that focus our purity externally, rather than internally.
Going to church
Reading our bibles
Feeding the hungry
Serving the poor
Helping the homeless
Loving our neighbor
All good things, things we should do as Christians, but done with wrong motives, done to earn your cleanliness or approval from God, can become nothing more than external rituals. If we are still looking to ritual and external acts to see God, we are doing nothing but closing our eyes hiding our mess in a junk drawer. It’s still there, will someday be found, and needs to be dealt with.
Those of us that are still “doing things” in order to be seen as clean and righteous will not see God. Those who have been cleansed from the inside by Jesus Christ will see God.
It’s the purity of the heart that only Christ can provide that will help us see.
2. How is your understanding on purity of heart different after reading this text?
3. Are there areas in your heart that you need to bring to the light and repent of? If so, find a friend to confess to and pray with.