"Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him."
Matthew 5:1 NIV
|James Tisset, "The Beatitudes Sermon"|
In the fifth chapter of the book of Matthew the Beatitudes are found. This collection of desirable Christian attributes and the ensuing blessing that they bring is an excellent guidepost for measuring our spiritual maturity. The Greek word Markarios, Strong's Concordance # 3107 is translated as "blessed." This word is derived from the root mak which means, "a long duration." Markarios speaks of a happy, blessed, state of being in which one should be congratulated.
Matthew 5:2 begins, "Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."
The spiritual poverty that Jesus speaks of is a recognition of one's spiritual lacking. It is an understanding of our own sinful nature and our inability to reconcile our state without God's grace. The word "kingdom" speaks of coming under the "kingship" of God's authority. It is a recognition of His majesty and our depravity. This is the place where salvation is possible and one should never allow oneself to let this recognition slip out of mind. Therein lies the danger of becoming proud and judgemental.
4 "Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted."
When we truly see our sin from God's perspective, a spiritual sorrow will ensue. This mourning is what Jesus speaks of in this verse. When we truly repent and mourn our sinful acts, the comfort of the Holy Spirit and forgiveness will be ours. Do we mourn our sin and repent before our Father?
5 "Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth."
True meekness is not weakness. Christ's meekness on the cross was not a testament of His lack of power; but truly, it was a testament of His strength. Isaiah 53:7 prophesies of this event,“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth" (NIV). Meekeness is strength under control, not a lack of it. The earth is the inheritance of such. Are we truly meek, do we bless and not revile?
6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled."
Spiritual hunger is a state of being in which we desire God's will and presence in our lives more than what the world has to offer. In this hunger, we are driven to go against convention and pursue God with a passion. Psalm 22:26 speaks of this state, "The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!" The promise is spiritual fulfillment. Are we truly hungry for God and seeking Him with our whole hearts?
7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
The Greek word eleemon Strong's # 1655 is translated as merciful. Its meaning is kind, compassionate, charitable work. It denotes feeling and action. The Word tells us to forgive and we shall be forgiven. In this same stream of thought, when we are merciful to others God will be merciful to us. Are we truly merciful to the people we encounter? Allow God to search your heart. Repent of the sin He shows you, it is hard to accept, but it is far more of a burden to carry with you.
8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God."
We are all born into a sinful state. Are we honest and ethical people? Ask God to purify your heart. It is His heart to do so. Having our spiritual eyes opened and our hearts pure before Him, we are promised that He will reveal Himself to us.
9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God."
Within our own realm of influence, are we peacemakers or chaos makers? Do we diffuse situations that may erupt or prompt them to do so? Allowing peace to lead us will surely bring about peace following us. To be called a son of God. . . let peace reign.
10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Persecution has always followed the true followers of Christ. When we are persecuted for our beliefs, tempted and tried by the world, and assaulted mentally by the enemy, we are instructed to rejoice that we are found worthy to suffer for Him. The kingdom is truly ours, and it is God's good pleasure to give it to us.
Lord, in Jesus' name I pray that as we read and compare our lives to the Beatitudes that You show us our sin so that we may repent of it and be closer to You. Thank You for the grace to do so. I pray that You touch us and heal us of our wounds and pain and bring us into tomorrow more healthy and Godly people. Amen.
The Spirit Filled Life Bible pages 1410-11.