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The Beatitudes


Thomas R. Fletcher  

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            Matthew 5 starts what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, delivered by Jesus to his disciples.  The first twelve verses are marked “The Beatitudes” in most bibles.  It is here that Jesus outlines what should be the attitude of a true disciple. 

Jesus begins by saying “blessed are the poor in spirit.”  That is the first step in being a true disciple of Christ.  It means to realize that naturally, we are all spiritually bankrupt.  There is nothing within the natural state of mankind that can meet the demands of God.  Without Christ, we cannot please God.  “Blessed are those who mourn.”  Realizing we cannot please God within ourselves, we mourn over our condition. 

There is a progression here.  We realize we cannot please God, we are poor in spirit, we mourn over our condition and then we find comfort by turning to Christ.  No one can be saved until one realizes his or her need of a Savior.  It is when we see our true spiritual condition, mourn over that condition and call upon the Lord that we find salvation.

Meekness is the mark of true disciple.  The world says “be aggressive, take what you want.”  Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”  Meekness arises from submission to Christ, realizing we do not have to play by the world’s rules.  That submission to Christ produces what in verse 6 is referred to as a “hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  Submission to Christ brings a change of heart.  It cause one to want to see righteousness established in all one’s dealings.  One in submission to Christ seeks to implement Christ’s teaching in daily life.

“Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.”  Those of us who have experienced God’s mercy should be quick to extend mercy to others.  In doing so, we experience greater mercy.  When we truly realize what God has done for us by extending his mercy towards us, how dare we be unmerciful to others?  There may be some, you think, that do not deserve mercy, but did any of us deserve God’s mercy?

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”  This beatitude speaks of the characteristic lifestyle of the Christian in submission to Christ.  Meeting the demands of this verse means daily living one’s life to please God.  Our lives are to be marked by purity, uprightness in our walk with God.  As we live in purity, we will see God.  How?  We will see him at work in our lives.  We will see our attitudes changed and our hearts softened.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  A peacemaker seeks a solution to a conflict.  The world is in dire need of peacemakers.  Those who witness for Christ are engaged in the greatest act of peacemaking.  I believe the greatest act of peacemaking is in helping a person reach peace with God through Christ. 

I believe verses 10-12 are a summation of what may expect if one is meeting the demands of verses 3-9.  The one who has seen one’s need of God, mourned over one’s condition, appropriated faith in Christ, is meek, hungers and thirsts for righteousness, is merciful, pure in heart, and a peacemaker for God; that person can expect the wrath of the world.  Everything that one is doing is going against the current of the world.  That one can expect persecution, insults and false accusations.  Make sure those accusations are false, and that the persecution is for righteousness sake and not because one is a jerk with a superiority complex.  The one persecuted for faith and obedience to Christ can rejoice knowing he or she has a reward in heaven.


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