(Matthew 5:1-12) Seldom in history have so few words been spoken with so much meaning. The Beatitudes of our Lord are powerful, holding before the world a descriptive picture of the true disciple of God. The Beatitudes cover the glorious hope and reward the believer can expect, now as well as in eternity.
Matthew 5:1-2 deal with the blessedness of compassion. Jesus saw the multitudes, but, it is to be noted that the Sermon on the Mount was given to the disciples not to the multitudes. “Seeing the multitudes,” Jesus was moved with compassion over their desperate plight and need. He knew that He could not reach them by Himself, so He was driven to get alone with His disciples. He had to begin preparing them for their ministry to the multitudes. There are two basic ingredients for reaching the multitudes. One, compassion: seeing the multitudes; keeping one’s eyes open so people and their needs can be seen. Two, discipleship: realizing that one cannot accomplish the task alone. Others must be taught to help in the great commission. Preaching and teaching are not to be done only in the church, but wherever people are found. Crowds are important, but a small band of disciples is critical to accomplish the great commission.
Matthew 5:3 deals with the blessedness of those poor in spirit and who acknowledge their spiritual poverty. Being poor in spirit does not mean that a man must be poverty-stricken and financially poor. We are solely dependent upon God to meet our need. The real blessings of life and eternity come only from a right relationship with God. The person “poor in spirit” approaches life in humility and appreciation, not as though life owes him, but as though he owes life. The opposite of being “poor in spirit” is having a spirit that is full of self. Two critical steps are taken by the person who truly acknowledges his spiritual poverty. He turns his primary attention away from the things of this world. He turns his primary attention to God and His kingdom. The “poor in spirit” inherit three significant things. First, the poor in spirit receive forgiveness of sin and God’s continued remembrance: the assurance that God will never forget. Second, the poor in spirit receive a fellowship with other believers who walk as they walk. Third, the poor in spirit receive the gift of life that is forever: the eternal fellowship with both God and the congregation of those who are poor in spirit.
Matthew 5:4 deals with the blessedness of those who mourn and have a broken heart. It is like the deep mourning and wailing that occurs over the death of a loved one. It is a desperate, helpless sorrow. It is a sorrow for sin, a broken heart over evil and suffering. It is a brokenness of self that comes from seeing Christ on the cross and realizing that our sins put Him there (see James 4:9). Men are to mourn over their sins. This leads to confession and humility before God and results in being lifted up (James 4:8-10). The person who mourns is comforted by Christ Himself.
Matthew 5:5 deals with the blessedness of those who are meek and have a strong, but tender and humble life. It is a strong yet teachable spirit. It is not being weak, bowing or spineless. It is a person who is humble, not prideful. It is person who is gentle, not easily provoked. It is person who is forgiving, not revengeful.
Matthew 5:6 deals with the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst because of a starving spirit. It is real hunger and starvation of soul. It is a parched and dying thirst. Many want just bits and pieces of righteousness, just enough to make them comfortable. There are those who stress being righteous and neglect doing righteousness. This leads to two serious errors. One, the error of false security. Two, the error of loose living. There are those who stress doing righteousness
and neglect being righteous. This also leads to two serious errors. One the error of self-righteousness and legalism. Two, the error of being judgmental and censorious.
Matthew 5:7 deals with the blessedness of those who are merciful and have a forgiving spirit and a compassionate heart. The person who is merciful has a tender heart. Every believer can be merciful. The unmerciful are warned by God, they shall face “judgment without mercy” (James 2:13). They shall face the anger and wrath of God (Matthew 18:34-35). They are not forgiven their sins (Matthew 6:12, 14-15).
Matthew 5:8 deals with the blessedness of those who are pure and have a clean heart. A heart unsoiled, unmixed, unpolluted that has been cleansed, purged, and forgiven. The person who is “pure in heart” lives a clean life.
Matthew 5:9 deals with the blessedness of those who are peacemakers that bring men together and help to make peace between men and God. The peacemaker is the person who has made peace with God (Romans 5:1), and knows the peace of God. The gospel of Christ is to be spread by peaceful means, not by forceful means.
Matthew 5:10-12 deal with the blessedness of those who are persecuted and endure suffering for Christ. They are mocked, ridiculed, criticized, ostracized, and treated with hostility. There are three major kinds of persecution mentioned by Christ in this passage: One, being reviled: verbally abused, insulted, scolded, or mocked. Two, persecuted: hurt, ostracized, attacked, tortured, or martyred. Three, having all manner of evil spoken against: slandered, cursed, and lied about. Believers are forewarned, they shall suffer persecution. Believers shall suffer persecution because they are not of this world. They shall suffer persecution because believers strip away the world’s cloak of sin. They shall suffer persecution because the world does not know God nor Christ.
Are you seeking to live the easy life or the blessed life? Choose Jesus, and even in suffering you will be blessed.