Matthew Chapter 5 begins a portion of scripture commonly known as the “Sermon on the Mount”,
which contains a revelation of God’s principles of righteousness by which all Christians are to live
through faith in Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This chapter is chalked full of incredible truths and wisdom so you will definitely want to read and study the full chapter on your own. But today I would like to take the next few moments to focus on verses 3-12, where Jesus teaches on what we refer to as the Beatitudes, which means “supreme blessedness”.
I don’t know about you but when I hear the word Beatitude I don’t think of it meaning “supreme blessedness”.
My brain immediately grasps on to the term “attitude” that seems to be a key portion of that word and makes me think “bad attitudes”; However, the word Beatitude actually comes from the Latin beatitudo, meaning blessedness.
In fact, in researching this topic I learned that the phrase “blessed are” in each beatitude implies a current state of happiness or well-being.
This expression held a powerful meaning of “divine joy and perfect happiness” to the people of Christ's day. In other words, Jesus was saying “divinely happy and fortunate are those who possess these inward qualities.”
That’s a far cry from the “bad attitude” assumption I was thinking on when going into this passage of scripture.
So, with that bit of knowledge in mind, let’s take a look at the Beatitudes or the “Supreme Blessedness” that Jesus teaches about in Matthew 5 verses 3 - 12.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Wow. Not much of that sounded very encouraging did it? Didn’t we just say these Beatitudes are supposed to be declaring blessedness? Then why do most of them sound so depressing? Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are those who are persecuted. Blessed are you when people insult you…
Without digging deeper and understanding a bit of the meaning behind this portion of scripture we might start to second guess those whole “following Jesus” thing. I don’t want to have to be in a constant state of mourning or insult or persecution in order to be blessed. And I don’t believe that is what the Lord wants for us either. So what are all of these verses REALLY saying?
Well, when we dig deeper we begin to discover that what Jesus is saying here isn’t that you have to be miserable to be blessed but rather His blessings - His best - pours out on us as Christ followers even when we feel like life is miserable and at its worst.
One key truth that we need to hone in on here is the difference between the meaning of “blessings” and “blessed”. You see, BLESS-INGS are a gift from God to His people. However, the word BLESS-ED, as used in this passage of scripture, comes from the Greek word “Makarioi”, which indicates a fullness of blessing that sustains us even in difficult circumstances. That means that we, as Christians, can confidently declare that we are still blessed even when we are insulted, or persecuted, or falsely accused BECAUSE OF our relationship with Jesus, who so faithfully and freely pours out His BLESSINGS of love, care, salvation, and His daily presence in our lives. In other words, we are BLESS-ED because of His BLESS-INGS.
As you dive into the rest of this chapter today, I encourage you to take some time to shift your eyes off of your circumstances and onto Jesus. As you read through each Beatitude say a prayer of thanksgiving for His faithfulness to, as Philippians 4:19 promises, “Supply all my needs, according to HIS riches in glory."