Expanded reading: Matthew chapter 3 – on John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Can you imagine sitting on the side of the mountain listening to Jesus explain how he wants us to behave? What attitudes would Jesus’ ideal disciple have? The Beatitudes, “Beautiful Attitudes” gives Jesus’ description of the character of true faith. The Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount are recorded in Matthew’s gospel.
The Beatitudes do not show a man how to be saved, but rather describe the characteristics of one who has been saved. The “poor in spirit” are the opposite of the proud or haughty in spirit. The opposite of self-sufficiency, it describes the deep humility of recognizing one’s utter spiritual bankruptcy, being acutely conscious of their own lostness apart from God’s grace. Depend on God, and not on self. The kingdom is a gracious gift to those who perceive their own poverty of spirit.
From verse 4: We mourn our dead, and truly, we will be comforted on that great day when we meet Jesus and our loved ones again. Our mourning will be turned into joy. Another way to look at this verse is to grieve and mourn our sins. We are comforted in being forgiven.
“Meek refers again to those who are humbled before God and also will ultimately share in the kingdom of God on earth. This is a humble heart, quick to understand, forgive, and obey God. We see, here, a blessing connected with it.
Verse 6 is that who are trying to be in right standing with God (righteousness) spend a lot of time in the study of God’s Word. The more we seek, the more we consume the Word, the more we are filled. God’s Word reveals the blessings.
Jesus became the ultimate example of mercy when He cried from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The Lord will forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us (Mark 11:25-26). Our just reward is death, but through the mercy of God, we are saved by His grace.
Jesus is the King of Peace. The only true peace comes from Him. There will never be peace on earth until the King of Peace comes and brings His peace to the earth. If we are His children, we pattern our lives by His; and we, too, bring peace around us as He has given us His peace within.
Jesus teaches that His people will act in direct contrast to the world. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness” sake.” To be persecuted for something we have done wrong is one thing, but to be persecuted because we are, to the best of our ability, serving God is something else. Paul said to count it all joy when we are persecuted for Jesus.
(These thoughts were a message from: http://www.bible-studys.org/Bible%20Books/Matthew/Matthew%20Chapter%205.html)
Gracious and heavenly Father, thank you for loving us, for showing us your way and giving us every opportunity to live our lives the way you would like us to live. Please help us be your special people and save us when we go astray. In your loving name we pray. Amen.