The Beatitudes explained

The Beatitudes are the name of the first part of Jesus’ teachings for the Sermon on the Mount. The descriptions and instructions are given for those who are to live in the Kingdom of God. Now, the Beatitudes are not absolute instructions or laws, they are the results of entering the Kingdom of God. God is to intervene in history and produce people just like those described in the Sermon on the Mount.

The idea behind using Kingdom of God is the phrase, “God is King” from Psalm 47:7. Kings, especially ancient, had absolute power over their entire dominion, and Hallelujah! God has absolute power over all Creation (His Dominion).

Kings typically provided protection for the people in their territories, provide what their subjects need, maintain order in the Kingdom (especially in legal matters), and represent the deity (God usually).

The Now and the Future Kingdom

The Gospels were clear that the Kingdom of God was a present experience (Luke 11:20; 17:21). Jesus’ teachings, healing, miracles, and other ministry were manifestations of the Kingdom. However, we see in many of the letters to different territories from the apostles made it clear that the Kingdom of God was also a future experience, as Jesus Returns. What it seems the Scriptures are clear about is that we have a limited experience of the Kingdom of God; however, the fullness of the Kingdom of God will be in the future.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven/God

Matthew 5:3

The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize they have a need for God in all things, and like the poor and destitute who need others, the poor in spirit know only God can save and protect them from anything.

What the world is saying…

Humanity’s religions value the “spiritual master” or “spiritual guru”. People think if they know and do the right things, they can find their own spiritual salvation. People can find answers to their problems if they could just recognize it.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus told us that the opposite is true. Those that are spiritually dry before God are happier, because they realize that they can rely on God’s strength, in which He cannot fail. This means that His believers cannot fail then either, as they have the certainty that in the Kingdom of God, The Messiah is in charge and in control.

See other verses: Isaiah 29:19; 61:1; Luke 6:20; Matthew 18:4.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted

Matthew 5:4

“Those who mourn” are those people wishing for God to send His Messiah, in hopes God will restore His Kingdom and set the world right and free. We are told in Isaiah 61:2-3 that the Messiah would come to comfort those who mourn and provide for those who are grieving in Zion. These people understand the mess the world is in and seek God’s redemption. Their comfort comes in knowing that the Messiah has come, in which the redemption they hoped for will occur soon.

What the world is saying…

People need to avoid grief and pain. The pursuit of happiness is valued above other things, and hiding pain and reality is best. Nothing is solved, but pretending to be happy is sufficient.

WHAT JESUS SAYS THOUGH

In his austere contrast, Jesus asserted that the true way toward happiness has to come through a radical shift in thought process of people – a repentance in other words – so we can see ourselves for who we really are. Once people are broken in life, God’s Will can be so much more accomplished, because people actually recognize who they really are, and why God chose them to be on this Earth: For His Purposes! This is the absolute utmost importance in the Kingdom of God and what will be a true sense of happiness. Only after recognizing the sorrow of trying to trust in the world is when we can recognize that God comforts us by His Spirit and that we can trust in Him and His Strength. Knowing the Messiah has come to offer redemption is the greatest comfort for those who mourn. If you are broken and contrite, God has a plan to bring you comfort… Be patient and wait for the Lord’s relief for your suffering.

See also: Isaiah 61:2-3; 66:13; John 14:1; 16:7; 16:20; Revelation 7:17.

Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth

Matthew 5:5

We see this similarly in:

  • Psalm 37:11, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
  • Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” This notes all who the Lord has forgiven. Those poor in spirit are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
  • Proverbs 8:34-35, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.”
  • Psalm 41:1, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” We remember Jesus’ note about being merciful in Matthew 5:7.

What the world says…

The proud and strong inherit the earth. Only those clever enough or confident enough in their abilities inherit what life has to offer. Gaining wealth, power, and respect is part of gaining the world. Some assert that gentleness does not get you far.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

It may seem like meekness is a disadvantage; however, it is wonderful in God’s Eyes. God invites you to trust in Him, and this gives you certainty that His Plans will work and accomplish what He has promised for His People.

See also: Isaiah 61:1; Numbers 12:3.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled

Matthew 5:6

Similar to how poverty leads to hunger, spiritual poverty can lead to hunger for righteousness. Jesus is talking about people who desire God’s Rule over their life, which brings justice for all. God will satisfy the hungry and thirsty for righteousness. This fulfills God’s Promise in Isaiah 65:13, “My servants will eat… my servants will rejoice…”

How the Old Testament described righteousness: This was a legal relationship, such as in law, courts, judges, etc. It meant ethical or good or fair behavior. It described also a covenant relationship, in which God would relate and do right toward His People.

How the New Testament explained righteousness: It was similar to how the Old Testament explained it, and Paul expanded the legal part of this. Because of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross, God justifies sinners. This does not mean God makes people righteous, but that God has applied Christ’s righteousness to us so we can become legally acquitted of the penalty of sin, which is death.

Jesus reflected righteousness in the covenant concept to described what is restored: the relationship between God and humanity; 2. Relationship between humans and Creation; 3. Human relationships.

What the world says…

Hungering for right things is playing a fool. Things don’t just change, and sometimes setting aside honor to do what is inconvenient may be needed. Quit worrying about what is right, and just get what you need. Look out for number one!

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus gives the promise that those who are starving for righteousness will be satisfied, for His Kingdom is characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

See also: Romans 14:17; Isaiah 55:1-13; 65:15; John 6:48.

Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy

Matthew 5:7

Mercy is part of God’s Nature. People experiencing God’s Mercy are indeed grateful to Him, and this seeks to cultivate a merciful attitude in return to God.

What the world says…

People want justice, and want to condemn other people to make themselves feel better. The world idolizes the arrogant and merciless in sports and athletics, and also idolizes wealth and fame, and movie celebrities. Mercy is a liability, because of how costly it is, which prevents people from managing their goals.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus challenged the world’s thinking on this matter, in which mercy is an essential quality. Mercy described Jesus’ life, as God has mercy on us. Jesus bridges giving and receiving mercy, and recognizing that God is truly merciful and cannot be bought by our mercy. Receiving God’s most precious act of mercy is great, which is eternal life.

See also: Psalm 86:15; Joel 2:13; Psalms 103:8; 145:8; Luke 6:36.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God

Matthew 5:8

Seeing God is one of the greatest hopes for a believer; however, only the pure in heart will have this blessing. Purity of heart is not a personal effort, and is not part of maturity. A pure heart is one free of sin, and only Christ Jesus can clean us of sin. God gives a pure heart, as we desire and He grants us.

What the world says…

Culture devalues a pure heart, whereas instead people search for pure water, pure air, pure food, etc. Having a polluted heart is not a problem for the world.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus said that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out (Matthew 15:11). True happiness is only in the presence of God. It inspires those living in the Kingdom of God to want to seek God.

See also: Exodus 33:20; Psalm 24:3-4; 51; Hebrews 12:14; Revelation 22:1-4; 1 John 3:2-3.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God

Matthew 5:9

Peace is always central to the Kingdom of God; therefore, those normally at war with each other would become at peace, and all things are made right especially when peace occurs. We are also made adopted children of God when we are saved.

What the world says…

Get peace at any price, and give peace a chance. Peace means the ceasing of conflict, and the world wants to be free of war. World peace will solve all problems. Some seek personal peace through many ideas: Music, drugs, meditation, destressing methods, etc.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus promised His Disciples peace before Ascending. His peace is a clear sign that the Kingdom of God is within our grasp or midst. Only Jesus makes that peace possible, and only in Him are we adopted children of God.

See also: Psalm 4:8; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:1; 12:18.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of God

Matthew 5:10

Just as the Kingdom of God belongs to those poor in spirit, it also belongs to those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Enduring opposition is important, because it shows that we stand up for what we truly believe in!

What the world says…

Principles are good, but not if they get you killed or cause grief. Righteousness is not valued in the world. Standards for right and wrong are not governed by what God desires, people get away with what they can do for their own desires.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus made it clear that the disciples would experience persecution, and it may seem that loneliness and isolation are part of what is doing right; however, your reward is in Heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us, so we are not alone. He is always there. He will always be there… You understand?

See also: 1 Peter 3:14-15; 5:10; Luke 6:22-23; John 15:18-21.

Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed

John 20:29

Jesus spoke about the Resurrection here, where it’s one thing to see the risen Christ as many of His Disciples had, but it is another to believe today based on these eyewitnesses. There are blessings in recognizing Christ has risen and truly believing the eyewitnesses.

What the world says…

Nobody knows what happened 2,000 years ago. People can’t just resurrect from the dead. Skeptics note the Bible’s contradictions.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus said that He IS the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). We have testimony of the apostles and t he ministration of the Holy Spirit.

See also: 1 Peter 1:8; John 1:12; 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15.

It is more blessed to give than to receive

Acts 20:35

Giving to those in need leads to more happiness than receiving. The life that continuously takes without giving is selfish, and this leads to greater unhappiness. Meeting people’s needs is the road to a blessed life.

What the world says…

Look out for number one, cater to your own needs, target your own pleasures. Get what you can now. If you are generous, people will take advantage of you. You make it on your own. You cannot please everyone, so just please yourself.

WHAT JESUS SAYS

Jesus says He came to serve and He urges His Believers to do the same. He wants us to have the joy of serving others, and serving God, and to delight in what He has called them to do. We are blessed when we follow our Master’s example (Christ’s example), for a servant is not greater than his Master.

See also: Matthew 6:1-4; Luke 6:38; 22:24-30.