In Matthew 5 we have Jesus calling his disciples to himself and teaching them. Chapters 5-7 are often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is teaching his disciples some fundamental truths they need to hear and receive.
He starts by describing what will happen to them if they receive and walk in what he is about to teach them, or what will emerge in their lives. The problem is that these things that will emerge are things we typically don't want. So he starts by telling them that they should consider themselves blessed when these things happen. In this present world these are not blessings, but in God's kingdom they are.
These are the Beatitudes. The blessings are not consolation prizes. This is a list of the results of paying attention to Jesus and serving him. Let's start by reading through them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Now let's look at each of them. I've included some scriptures to think about and meditate on.
1. You will become a spiritual beggar. And you will be blessed with the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Greek word for poor in this verse is "Ptochos," which means:
- reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms
- destitute of wealth, influence, position, honor
- lowly, afflicted, destitute of the Christian virtues and eternal riches
- helpless, powerless to accomplish an end
- poor, needy
- lacking in anything
- as respects their spirit
- destitute of wealth of learning and intellectual culture which the schools afford (men of this class most readily give themselves up to Christ's teaching and proved themselves fitted to lay hold of the heavenly treasure)
- as respects their spirit
This doesn't mean we don't have spiritual authority or power. It is more a picture of our realization that we cannot do any of this in our own strength, so we always seek God's mercy and power with reverent submission. Consider these scriptures.
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2. There will be times of sadness and sorrow, and God will pull you to his side and comfort you. There is reason for great joy in serving God, but there is also cause for great sadness; sorrow over the lost, over those struggling in the faith, sorrow because of persecution. There is also sorrow in life itself. This is a promise of our Father in Heaven seeing us and comforting us.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
3. You will become humble, mild, and gentle with people, and you will inherit everything.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
2 Timothy 2:25-26
25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
4. You will start to desire and crave the things of God, and God will make sure you receive them.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
5. You will start to overlook the faults in others, and God will overlook your faults.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
6. Your heart will become sincere, and God will reveal himself to you.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace
will have the king for a friend.
7. You will help people overcome discord and strife, and those who know God will see him in you.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.
8. There will be strong opposition against you whenever there is spiritual opposition towards God. The more you live a life that God approves of the more you may be attacked by others. But your reward will be great. You will receive God's kingdom and be in fellowship with all who were persecuted because they were faithful.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
2 Timothy 3:10-13
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
2 Thessalonians 1:4
4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
If we let God's Word work in us these things will emerge in our lives. Being poor in spirit, being meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, being peacemakers, and being persecuted will emerge as a result of yielding to God's Spirit. And the rest; the kingdom of God, being comforted, seeing God, being shown mercy, will also emerge in our lives. We don't have to create anything. We simply yield. We worship. We let him work in us.