Beatitudes

<<blessings, values to live by>>

The first part of the Sermon on the Mount as spoken by Jesus (Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-25).

They are a code of values, standards or attitudes that He cares about and by which we should live.

Jesus names a group normally thought unfortunate and pronounces them “blessed” or “happy”. While there is nothing inherently desirable about

      Am I living-out these inner qualities?

being poor or unhappy those who find hope and joy in serving and living for Jesus regardless of the outer circumstances, are spiritually prosperous.
Those who are in need, grieve or suffer persecution are in fact well positioned to recognise and receive the good news of God’s saving power. If their condition predisposes them to welcome the gospel they are blessed. Each Beatitude starts with an action or attitude that is commended as resulting in happiness or divine favour, then the reason for the happiness is explained.  Each beatitude is the opposite of the normal human reaction; they contrast society’s typical values and those of God’s Kingdom.

The Kingdom values

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). It is those who recognise their own lack, stop going their own futile way and turn to Him through being born-again, that experience Jesus as their only hope. Humility is opposite to the pride and independence displayed by many.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt 5:4). Conviction of sin brings sorrow and guilt. This leads to repentance and forgiveness, then comfort from the guilt and penalty of sin. Facing up to sin now is the opposite to the world’s way of happiness at any cost.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5). Those who are under God’s control and yield to Him in obedience will gain more than if they had demanded their own rights. Submissiveness of spirit is contrasted to the drive for power.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” (Mt 5:6). An active pursuit of true righteousness from the source – God and His Word – will be rewarded. This is seeking His justice and goodness not personal carnal desires.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7). This is compassion in action, and often involves forgiveness. As we have been shown mercy by God, we are to extend it to others. Kindness and empathy are the opposite of harsh strength without feeling.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8). This is being cleansed in our inner being from the contamination of sin, approaching God through our rituals and having no selfish intentions, instead knowing His truth that will ensure rich fellowship with Him. Although deception and masks may be acceptable in the world, they are not with God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Mt 5:9). It is only peaceful people who can promote peace and friendship. Jesus brings people into right relationship to God through reconciliation and as we do that we too we are extending His ministry. The world’s way is to focus on personal rights rather than resolution.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…” (Mt 5:10-12). By making a stand for Christ and not conforming to the worlds standards Christians will attract unwelcome attention, yet faithfulness to God will not go unnoticed by Him.

See also: Sermon on the Mount.


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