MATTHEW 5:1-12 – Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
THEME OF THE DAY. BEATITUDE PEOPLE. Today’s scripture is the opening of the greatest sermon ever preached by the Greatest Preacher who ever preached. It is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and opens with the familiar beatitudes. Each one starts with the word “blessed” and translates as “happy, privileged, fortunate.” As the sermon unfolds, each beatitude contains a promise. They range from getting heaven to a reward for enduring persecution. But the beatitudes are not just about promises. Many theologians, scholars, and pastors believe these beatitudes are the “attitudes” or characteristics of a Christian. As we read them, that makes sense. These are the spiritual qualities in a person who has been born again. Yes, the promises are there, but notice that the “attitude” precedes the promise making it conditional. For instance, let’s say we want to receive mercy from God. The fifth beatitude promises us we will receive mercy IF we are merciful. And this pattern holds for every beatitude. We receive great promises from God if we meet the criteria to receive the promise. Let’s work our way through the first three beginning with a question.
Do we want heaven? Then be “poor in spirit” which means we know and live as spiritual paupers whose “spiritual bank” is bankrupt. This is the first and most important of the beatitudes because it identifies a person totally reliant on the grace of God in Christ Jesus for salvation.
Do we want to comfort from God? Then “mourn” which means a sorrow and sadness over our sin. This is not a mourning over circumstances in life or trials and us calling out to God for comfort. The mourning Jesus preaches of is a deep sorrow over sin that leads to a hatred of sin. We may know how close we are to the Lord Jesus by our attitude toward sin. Do we really mourn over it? Is our mourning because it breaks God’s heart, and keeps us from loving Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength? Such a heart pleases God and will always be met with His comfort.
Do we want righteousness? Then hunger and thirst for it which means a yearning to be like Christ; a passion for holiness; a deep and intense desire for Him who is our righteousness. This type of hunger and thirst is well-illustrated from David in the sixty-third Psalm – O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you (Psalm 63:1-3).
By now we should be able to affirm the beatitudes are the characteristics found in true believers. We do see our spiritual bankruptcy. We do mourn over sin. We do hunger and thirst for righteousness. And these intensify as we mature in Christ. May the Lord make us more and more beatitude people who enjoy the promises to those who are.
PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for giving me sweet and precious promises through Your Son.”
QUOTE: “The Beatitudes give us great promises as long as the conditions are met”