The Beatitudes: Summing Up

The Beatitudes: Summing Up

The Beatitudes: Summing Up.

Found in Matthew 5: 3-10.

CONTEXT. Jesus had just been touring the entire region in a flurry of teaching, preaching and healing. Huge crowds were following Him from one place to the next. So He decided to take His closest disciples aside to a hilltop near Capernaum for a special word. He had just declared to the people that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand (4:17), that it is drawing near, and now He wants to reveal the characteristics of that Kingdom. He has a strong desire to teach His disciples the character traits of the citizens of heaven. In the Beatitudes He describes not only the ideal conditions of the heart, but also what will result from those attitudes of the heart. As the disciples will see in the next three years, Jesus Himself is the model for all the Beatitudes. Even though man’s heart is easily deceived, we will come to understand these profound words as we read the Gospels, watch Jesus in action, and meditate on the Beatitudes.

Beatitudes: Latin, for the Blessings.

5:3 = Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

You will shout for joy when you are spiritually helpless, like a bankrupt beggar knocking at the gate of the King, hat in hand. Congratulations! When your spirit is poverty-stricken and you have no option but to place yourself at the mercy of God,  He will open the gates to His Kingdom and welcome you in!

5:4 = Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

You will sigh with satisfying relief when your heart is broken by the profound pain of loss, shame, or sin. You are fortunate! You are not alone! For the deeper your sorrow, the more room there is for God’s healing presence and comforting grace. 

5:5 = Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

You will be joyfully fulfilled when you submit to God’s authority, like a wild bronco bridled by a master horseman. Congratulations! Since your strength and giftedness is guided by God, you will soon explore the Family property, the new earth, when it appears.

5:6 = Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

You will enjoy full satisfaction when you starve for a more righteous character like a desert pilgrim in a desperate search for food and water. Congratulations! When you have an appetite for righteousness, God won’t let you go hungry for long, and you will then be ready for a delicious meal of holiness! 

5:7 = Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Congratulations! You are one of God’s favorites when you compassionately share someone’s misery and relieve their difficulty. You are to be envied! For putting God’s love into action towards others puts His love into action for you! 

5:8 = Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

You will cheer with delight when your innermost being is cleaned of mixed motives and impure thoughts. Congratulations! Your clean inner reservoir of  instincts will now more clearly reflect a pure image of God, and your eyes will open to see more and more of Him. 

5:9 = Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

You will grin from ear to ear when you are able to harmonize people and help those in discord to sing the same sweet tune! Congratulations! God is drawing up the adoption papers for those who work hand-in-hand with the Prince of Peace! And the Father is asking you to join the Family choir!

5:10 = Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Congratulations! Be glad! You are in good company when you are treated badly for doing good. You are in a select group when you are mistreated for doing what is right. Rejoice, because the first club meeting of the Fellowship of Suffering will be around the throne in the Kingdom of Heaven! Celebrate! You are to be envied for your good fortune! 

“Blessed” = makarioi; a rich Greek word with many nuances, all in the context of enjoying God’s favor: fully satisfied; deeply joyful; delightfully content; profoundly happy; blissfully fulfilled. When Jesus declares that you are blessed, He is congratulating you, confidently affirming that God is active in your life. You are blessed when you put yourself in the position to be transformed by God. You are blessed, you are most fortunate, you are to be envied, because you now have the unexpected privilege of participating in the Kingdom of God. When you are blessed, you are aware that your blessedness does not depend on your outer circumstances. You are thus filled with hopeful joy. So when Jesus says that you are blessed, it is time to celebrate, for He is looking upon you with favor. In these Beatitudes, Jesus is saying that God wants us to be blessed, He is for us, He wants good to happen to us.

EMPTY. Congratulations, you’re running on empty! Now that’s not a blessing you hear every day. Those words seem to contradict themselves. When Jesus hand-delivered the Good News of the Kingdom, it’s no wonder the poor and broken flocked to Him. He told the unblessed that they were in a state of blessing. He told the disgraced that they were in a state of grace. He told the unfortunate that they were to celebrate their good fortune. Jesus encouraged the miserable not to be fooled by dire straits. Be grateful when you are at the end of your rope, Jesus is saying, for only then will you be able to touch the hem of His garment. The Beatitudes reveal the spiritual benefits of weakness, the blessings of emptiness. You are weak? That’s great! That’s a prelude to God’s strength and healing. You are empty? How fortunate! That will surely lead to fullness and satisfaction.