Saturday 12 February 2022


MATTHEW 5 V 1-12

A lot of people consider the Beatitudes which form this passage, are a major part of the Sermon on the Mount, and that sermon is looked upon as a description of the Christian faith. Perhaps to so believe that is over reacting, but it is a central part of Christianity.

We see Jesus was being followed by a crowd as he reached Capernaum from Galilee, and seeing the crowd, Jesus went up the mountain, and sat down to allow his disciples to join him. He sat down, which was the custom of a Rabbi to teach the crowd, religious leaders, and give instructions to his disciples concerning life in the Kingdom of God.

The Beatitudes, are recorded in the Bible by Matthew and Luke, to mark the beginning of Jesus' public teaching ministry. I have chosen to follow Matthew’s account, and whilst it varies slightly from Luke’s version, that is attributable to personal way of telling, and is in no way casting a doubt of the event.

Just as Moses spoke to people after receiving the Commandments on Mount Sinai, so was Jesus following in like manner.  Followers of Billy Graham will remember how he so often spoke of the heart as the centre of life, holding our emotions, directing our thoughts, and our hearts, will guide us in the Beatitudes.

The eight actions begin with the word blessed, which in some modern versions of the bible has become happy. I think that was unfortunate for it is misguiding to a person reading for the first time to read, happy are those who are poor. A person can be blessed and be happy at being so, but a happy person may not suitably be blessed. To be blessed   is to be in a state of well-being in relationship with God, and that belongs to those who responded to the ministry of Jesus. Each beatitude has three parts; a term of blessedness==a description to whom this is applied== a reason for having this blessing.

The disciples were those who had made  commitment to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  They were joined by the curious who had heard of Jesus, for news of Jesus had spread.  Somewhere uncommitted, others were astounded by his teaching.

V3 Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven

There are few people who would consider being poor as a matter for congratulation.  We are looking to the man who works hard for a living, has little if any extra cash, and whose life was consequently hard going, and might be called as poverty stricken.

They were looked upon, as those who had no earthly resources, would put their trust in God. Such a man can put all his helplessness in God’s hands, and will know that God cand bring help.

There is nothing good in poverty, Jesus would never have blessed people whose lives were in destitute homes, and there be short of food and necessities. Abraham Lincoln stated that God must have loved the poor because he made so many of them, and the gospel message was there to help them remove any misfortune.

The Kingdom of God is a society in which God’s, will is done on earth as it is in heaven, and the place for the poor, who will have realized their own dependence on God, and will trust and obey.

The poor in spirit are those who recognize they are in need of God’s help.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who confess to spiritual bankruptcy.

The people listening to Jesus must have been spellbound, for he was saying things which seemed to be the opposite of life as they knew it. He was saying the rich and  Important people were not the well-off, it was the poor, the mournful, persecuted , hungry and thirsty who,were.  Here was a reversal of all human valuations.


V4 blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

A person who is detached from things, but not from people. Who is conscious of unworthiness. A broken spirit.  One who is in bitter sorrow, and is mourning the dead. Someone who has care for  another who is in sorrow and suffering. 

The blessedness is on one whose heart is suffering for his own sins, for out of his own sorrow he will find the joy of God.


V5 blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

Willing to put up with much without resentment, and doesn’t take offence easily.  Ready to wait for goodness. Those who do not try to make themselves as better than others to further their own agenda, and will inherit the earth because trust in God to direct events, and is in control of own emotions. Who has the humility to realize his own weakness.


V6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

To have a desire to be entirely confirmed to the mind of God, and long above all else, to be holy.  They recognized God is the source of all righteousness, so they long for God’s righteous character to be alive to people on earth. They shall be satisfied by responding to his invitation to be in worship with him.


V7 Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.

Have full compassion for others. Have pity for all suffering and want to do good for people, and they will get rich reward.  The kindness and mercy shown to them they will share with others.


V8 Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall se God.

Those who seek purity and display rightness in all aspects of life.  They aim not for outward correctness, but inner holiness. Don’t seek external show and try not to give offence, and will serve God with spirit, and have God at heart.


V9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Those who pursue God’s peace will gain reward of being called sons of God.  They strive for peace, and to produce charity,  they want people to love and care for each other, by teaching the gospel that love is the fulfilling of the law.


V10 Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Those who are laughed at, scorned  and threatened. Persecuted and wrongly accused because of their faith.  God is pleased when his people show they value him above all others in this world, and this happens when we courageously remain faithful  amidst opposition for righteousness sake.


V 11/12 Blessed are you when others revile you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account.  Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you

Those who were reviled, just as Jesus who experienced opposition and persecution, his disciples can expect the same reward . This reward may not come on earth, but it will surely be theirs. Throughout history beginning with Cain’s slaughter of Abel, they persecuted the prophets.

 Matthew’s phrases show how essential to the teaching of Jesus, which is to follow. It should however, be realized the Beatitudes were given to Jesus disciples, to describe a way of life which is addressed to, and only possible for the committed Christian.

How many times I wonder, have I heard it said if people only followed the sermon on the mount the Church would find a world of love and peace.  This is sometimes said by people who want to bypass other parts of Scripture, which makes them uncomfortable, especially to their consciences. Do all those people actually live the teaching of the sermon?  Two thousand years have past since this sermon was delivered, but hasn’t lived it out.

When all people claiming to be Christians accept, practice and fully live, sound doctrine, then we will have true committal to Jesus Christ.


May God bless his Holy Word to us, and may his name be praised.


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