Matthew 5:1–12 (NKJV, also appearing in Luke 6:17-23)
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
There are numerous discussions, expositions, and interpretations of this passage available from many places, including my own computer. This blog is not the place for an extended theological discussion of the passage. However, a summary understanding of the meaning of the blessings (beatitudes) can help the reader understanding why these are important to the Christian.
Poor in spirit can easily refer to humility, which God will reward with citizenship in the kingdom of Heaven, the greatest, most opulant place ever described in human terms. Humility precedes true blessing.
Mourning can mean anguish or grief over a personal loss. However, it can also point to those same emotions over the condition of humanity, or over the lost condition of sinful souls. God will reward that sorrow with c omfort and joy as His purpose is fulfilled in the world through the prayers of mourning of the faithful people of God.
Meekness (not weakness) is a patient waiting for one’s place to be established. The meek do not take what is “rightfully theirs,” but rather faithfully serve without pretense or personal entitlement under the leadership of the Master. God will reward them with an inheritance in the earth. This could be a millennial reign reference or a reference to acquisition of land or wealth for the purposes of God now.
Spiritual hunger comes from sincere searching, which often leads to the discovery of amazing truth. That hunger and thirst leads to the knowledge of God that will grow and prosper the individual Christian and profit the kingdom mightily. A life of learning begins with the first small quest for knowledge and, in this case, the knowledge of God’s truth and righteousness.
Mercy is a two-way street. To receive mercy, one must give mercy. It is true throughout the New Testament. Forgive to be forgiven. If you do not extend mercy, it will not be extended to you. Extend it, however, and someone will reach out to you with it when you need it.
Purity is required to see God. Simple, but complex all at the same time. A pure heart takes work and grace. You cannot work yourself into purity. Holiness comes from God, but you must pursue it, and you must have it to please Him. Come before Him, be made pure, then walk in relationship with Him.
Warmongers and violent people do not see and understand the heart of God. He is gracious and merciful. They do not share His DNA. However, those who make peace and share peace and give peace…they are His children.
The persecuted and reviled are not normally considered blessed. However, those who take the rap, endure the shame and rejection, of being a child of God, a disciple of Christ, will endure such treatment at tiimes. Part of the blessing, though, in being persecuted or reviled is the identification with Christ that accompanies it. I am named with Christ, and although that can garner some trouble for me, it also makes me part of His team, His family, His chosen ones, and THAT is worth the trouble and woe. I am His and He is mine. In that, I am supremely blessed.