THE BEATITUDES



Matthew 5:3-12 *cf. Luke 6:20-23)





In the Beatitudes, the Lord Jesus contrasted God’s values with the world’s values. As He explained in His teaching or sermon on the mount, anyone who wants to receive God’s blessing must reject the world’s way of thinking. He also warned His followers to expect persecution. According to the Lord, whoever adopts God’s values and obeys His commands will suffer in this life but will receive a great reward in heaven.



The Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The "poor in spirit" are those followers of Christ who recognize their spiritual poverty. These are people who cry out for God's help in all that they do. Apart from God, they are spiritually bankrupt and wholly depend on the Lord God Almighty for their needs. They have humble and contrite spirit, experience God's deliverance, and enjoy His undeserved favor (see Isaiah 66:2 *cf. also Psalm 86:1-5). As the Lord Jesus said, they will attain the kingdom of heaven. In other words, God blesses those followers of Jesus who are poor or "acutely conscious of their own lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace," and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.


They that Mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Those who "mourn" are the followers of Jesus Christ who are truly repentant or sorry for their sins—they will receive comfort—the comfort of forgiveness and salvation (cf. Isaiah 40:1, 2). This speaks of the godly sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation without regret. As the Scripture tells us, true sorrow for sins leads to a change of mind and a turning to God (see 2 Corinthians 7:10). Whether as Jesus’ followers, we mourn for sin or in suffering, God’s promise is sure that we will be comforted. Only God can take away sorrow for sin, and only God can forgive and erase it. Only God can give comfort to those who suffer for His sake because they know their reward in the Kingdom. In other words, the Lord blesses those who truly mourn over sin—they are comforted by Him.


The Meek

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This was quoted from Psalm 37:11. The "meek" are the disciples or followers of Jesus Christ who have disciplined strength—they are "gentle and lowly" in heart. This is not weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit (cf. Galatians 5:23). These two words translated "gentle" and "lowly" convey humility and trust in God. Gentle and lowly people or followers of Christ do not look down on themselves, but they do not think too highly of themselves either. Ironically, it will not be the arrogant and wealthy people who get everything. Instead, the whole earth will belong to the gentle. As Scripture reveals, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6 *see also Proverbs 3:34). In other words, He blesses those who are humble—they will inherit the whole earth. Not only that, the meek will the Lord guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His way (Psalm 25:9). They shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (Psalm 37:11).


Those Who Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.


The Merciful

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies (Psalm 25:10).


The Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. Only those with pure heart and clean hands, those who have not lifted up their soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully shall ascend into the hill of the Lord or stand in His Holy place—His presence.


The Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.


Those Persecuted for Righteousness

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.


Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for the sake of Jesus. Rejoice and be very glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in this manner they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11, 12). In other words, God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are Jesus’ followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. Remember, you are not alone. Many men of God, especially the prophets who lived before you were persecuted in the same way.


More than that, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it! (Luke 11:28). In other words, the hearers and keepers of God’s word are the blessed ones. Thus the humblest believer who keeps Jesus’ word is more blessed than the one who allow traditional practices to take the place of the authority of the Scriptures. A person’s obedience to God is more important than his or her sacrifices or offerings done outside the command and will of God. Keep the focus on the Word of God.


Blessings!!!


Ike Ozuome

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