The Beatitudes – Jesus’ guidelines for Believers

The Beatitudes - Jesus' guidelines for BelieversToday’s study scripture from Matthew 5:3-12

The Sermon on the Mount has been recorded by Matthew in chapter 5 through 7 as the teachings of Jesus Christ. The message was directed to “his disciples” only, not to the “multitudes.” In a sense, that the teachings was given during transitional period between the Mosaic economy (religion, dispensation) in Israel and Christian economy which applied to both Jews and Gentiles.

This sermon was an masterful explanation of the law and a powerful attack on Pharisaic legalism. Jesus explained the true meaning of the law, and showed that it is humanly impossible to fulfill its demands. The true demands of the law is far beyond its literal interpretation.

sermon overview
Matthew 5:1-2 (KJV) 1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Once disciples joined Jesus, He started His teachings with the Beatitudes. The word beatitudes means “happy, fortunate, rich, blessed, blissful”.

Here Christ describes the divinely gifted happiness to the faithful believers. He constitutes the guidelines for his disciples for the pursuit of true happiness. The characteristics here enumerated are diametrically opposite to ideas of the ungodly world about happiness.

Each of eight Beatitudes portrays the ideal heart condition of a kingdom citizen – a condition that brings abundant spiritual blessing. These blessings leave sinners with the only way to eternal salvation. The salvation which is based on the Word of God and His work of redemption, not on obedience to moral laws, but divine grace for salvation.

Finally, to make sure that Christ’s disciples got clear understating of His teaching He explains The Beatitudes in Similitudes: the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

The Beatitudes
Matthew 5:3-12 (KJV) 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
The 1st blessing

blessed are the poor in spirit – is for those who recognize their spiritual poverty and impossibility to fill the “bank accounts” with worldly riches. Their bankruptcy draws them near to God and makes them to care about heavenly resources instead. Those are blessed who conscious of their calamity and lostness apart from God’s mercy and grace.

Note Psalm 109:21-27; Isaiah 66:2; James 2:5
The 2nd blessing

blessed are they that mourn – is for those who have a godly sorrow. The sorrow of the world and personal affliction which produces repentance leading to the salvation. True and lasting comfort God promised to his people who mourn.

Note 2 Corinthians 7:10; Psalm 55:1-6; Psalm 102:1-11; Isaiah 61:3
The 3rd blessing

blessed are the meek – the word “meek” here is being “quiet, gentle, submissive”, which is opposite of being out of control or rebellious. Those are blessed who recognize divine authority set upon them, who submissive to the will of God and led on by the Holy Spirit.

Note Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 11:29; Psalm 37:34
The 4th blessing

blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness – it speaks of those who seek after God’s righteousness, rather than practicing self-righteousness. This is the opposite of Pharisees’ teachings. Those are blessed who seek the right relationship with God, it will satisfy their hunger and thirst.

Note Romans 10:3; Philippians 3:9
The 5th blessing

blessed are the merciful – the true Jesus’ followers must not only bear their own affliction and sorrow, but they must, with Christian love and sympathy, partake of the afflictions of their neighbors and even enemies. Those who are merciful to others will receive mercy from the Heavenly Father.

Note James 2:13
The 6th blessing

blessed are the pure in heart – the true relationship with God consists in heart-purity. Pure is opposite to mixture – there is only one way to the Father and this is through Jesus Christ; pure is opposite to pollution and defilement – Christians’ heart must be kept pure from fleshly lusts, unchaste thoughts and desires. Those who are pure in heart can see God without any distraction and distortion.

Note Psalm 24:4; Jeremiah 4:14; 1 Timothy 1:5
The 7th blessing

blessed are the peacemakers – Jesus did not say, “Blessed are the pacifists”, rather “..peacemakers”. Jesus Christ himself is the only real Peace. Before any man can make peace with anyone else, he must make peace with God. And we have peace with God through His Son and our Lord Jesus Christ. Those are blessed who urge others to make peace with God.

Note Colossians 1:20; Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:20
The 8th blessing

blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake;
blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake
 – it is hard to call persecution a blessing, but this is the pattern that we see throughout the Bible. It seems normal for the world to bully those who refuse to follow their morally sick trends. The demons always oppose citizens of Heavens.

The persecutions within the Church and between different Christian denominations are unfortunate reality. People “on behalf” of God reprimand and falsely accuse others of being “not of God” or “false prophets”.

If you remember from the Bible, in the time of Jesus there are were two major groups. The Pharisees and Sadducee bridged political and religious leadership, the teachers of religious law and priests, who were responsible for the religious life of people – The Church.

According to the religious leaders, Jesus and His disciples were lawless and unruly. In Matthew 26:63-65 Caiaphas the high priest himself accused Christ of blasphemy, because He claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God.

In Romans 3:10 Paul says: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” The true righteousness is the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. And those who are persecuted for God’s sake are not persecuted for foolishness, but for truthfulness.

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Note Luke 6:22; Acts 13:50,52; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Peter 4:16 

Through these guidelines Jesus Christ established a criteria for his disciples. Jesus never promised to His followers the life without pain, illness, suffering, rejection and persecution. Moreover, He endured all suffering and rejections – one for all! Jesus Christ lived through all 8 Beatitudes. And following Jesus means to live the life our Lord God lived.

If you want to follow Jesus Christ:

  • recognize your spiritual bankruptcy without God and seek Heavenly Kingdom first;
  • don’t live with bitterness in your heart, FORGIVE, REPENT and Father will forgive you too;
  • SUBMIT yourself to GOD’S WILL and His AUTHORITY
  • by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ receive eternal salvation;
  • always ask the Holy Spirit to guide and to keep your heart pure and clean;
  • love your neighbor, be merciful and pray for your enemies;
  • preach the Gospel to the whole world, so others can reconcile with God;
  • rejoice, and be exceedingly glad if you are being persecuted, for great is your reward in heaven.
References: The Henry Morris Study Bible – KJV; The MacArthur Study Bible – ESV; Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Images taken from: FreeBibleimages, thank you!

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