Text: Matthew 5
Event(s): Sermon on The Mount (Part 1)
Matthew 5:1 The entire Sermon on the Mount runs from Matthew 5:1 – Matthew 7:29
The word “Blessed” is an adjective suggesting happy and supremely blessed; a condition in which congratulations are in order. It is a grace word that expresses the special joys and satisfaction granted the person who experiences salvation.*
Many teachers state there are 9 beatitudes, some say 7 or 10 and yet others state there are 8; (with verses 10-12 being one beatitude). I personally follow a 9-beatitude outline because I see a pattern that coincides with the nature of many other things we have in the Word of God. For example, there are 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11); 9 fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), etc.. And I do see some differences in what is shared in vs 10 an vs 11. However, we don’t need to make a doctrine out of this. How many there are is far less important than to focus on the heart of what Jesus was communicating to us.
Matthew 5:3 “poor in spirit” means those who recognize our need for Him. Billy Graham said, “If we put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” we will understand what Jesus meant. In other words, when we come to God, we must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need Him.”
Matthew 5:4 “those who mourn” obviously means to experience deep grief, but not just when we experience loss (as in the loss of a loved one). This refers to experiencing sorrow that leads us to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). We don’t have to beat ourselves up or wallow in misery when we do something that is not pleasing to God. But we also don’t take it lightly or just brush it off like it doesn’t matter. Remember it is God’s desires to exchange “blessedness” and comfort in place of that godly sorrow.
Matthew 5:5 “the meek” we know the authority, power and grace we have, but we allow it to be restrained with humility. We are disciplined and mature enough to not use it as a banner of pride, but as an instrument of love for the sake of others. It is one of the most evident qualities demonstrated in a godly leader. Numbers 12:3 states, “Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (KJV)
Matthew 5:6 “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” I once read that as water and food is for the body, so is righteousness to the spiritual life. Hunger is a sign of health; and blessed we are when we experience it, for Jesus says we WILL be filled. (If you missed it, check out Day 7 where I gave an explanation of what righteousness means.)
Matthew 5:7 “the merciful” a kind, compassionate, sympathetic, merciful, and sensitive word, combining tendencies with action. A person with this quality finds outlets for his merciful nature.* (cf Matthew 9:13)
Matthew 5:8 “the pure in heart” being singleminded in our devotion to God and therefore, we will be pure in our hearts. Our thoughts and intentions, motives and actions will not be tainted by worldly ways of doing things. It is the grace of God alone that empowers us to walk in this purity.
Matthew 5:9 “the peacemakers” those who are not divisive in word, intent or action but pursue reconciliation – with each other and who also reconcile people to Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Matthew 5:10 “those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” this refers to those who choose to side with righteousness. In other words, those who maintain a loyalty to righteousness – even if it costs them something.
Matthew 5:11 “the reviled” to be spoken abusively towards, to be railed at or scolded, to quarrel noisily with.
Today’s takeaway: Sometimes, we can begin to wonder if it’s even worth it to do the right thing. To live according to the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven, to be righteous even when it seems no one else around us is or even cares that we are. To have integrity when we see others cut corners. To be the first to extend a hand of reconciliation or mercy when others “don’t deserve it.” These beatitudes are not prescriptive, in that we approach them from a works-based relationship. Jesus is not saying “do this in order to get that”. But He is speaking words of comfort and encouragement to us to stick to it, and He’s also directing our attention to the fact that the best reward is to experience the happiness, joy and fulfillment, or “blessedness” in our relationship with Him.
Additional (optional) reading: The parallel to this passage can be found in Luke 6:20-49.
*Definitions marked with an asterisk have been taken from The New Spirit Filled Life Bible Executive Director, Jack W. Hayford