Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Beatitudes

An analysis of the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12).

  • Matthew 5:1-12
  • Psalms 1:1
  • Psalms 119:1-2
  • Luke 6:20-26
  • Matthew 4:23-25
  • Isaiah 61:1 - 3
  • Isaiah 66:1-2
  • 2 Corinthians 12:20-21
  • Psalms 24:3-5
  • Genesis 4:10
  • Revelations 6:9-11
  • Matthew 11:28-29
  • Isaiah 9:6
  • James 1:12
  • Introduction
  • The Beatitudes
  • Biblical Context
  • Cultural Context
  • Various Interpretations
  • Analysis of the Beatitudes
  • The Beatitudes (Verse by Verse)
  • Self Portrait
  • Under Construction
  • Conclusion
Who is more free...Someone who has everything or someone who has nothing to lose?


Kingdom of God

Some people view Jesus as only a moral teacher.  They revere the Sermon on the Mount as a great social justice message.
Jesus is the guy who said:
  • “Love your neighbor as yourself”
  • “Love your enemies”
  • “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries”
  • “What profiteth a man if He gains the whole world and loses his soul”
We have to bear this in light of the fact that His main message was given in Matthew 4:17 and was:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Both John the Baptist and Jesus‘ taught “repent for the kingdom of God is here or at hand “
The kingdom of God is the story-line of the whole Bible. Humans rebelled and ruined the plan that God set in place. God set forth a plan in the Old Testament with promises to restore the Kingdom and that plan is being fulfilled through Jesus.
For that reason, we have been studying the Kingdom of God for almost a year now.

Importance of Understanding the Context

We have seen that when we pull individual stories or individual versus out of context we can come up with a completely different conclusion then what the original authors were trying to convey.
We saw that in the last lesson with the parable of the sheep and goats. If you just read it on its own you come up with a salvation by works theology. If you read it in the context of the complete Olivet discourse you realize that it is the last of four parables that Jesus recites in response to the question of what His return will be like.  The other 3 responses were parables in which the means of salvation was figurative.   There is no reason that the means of salvation, good works and acts of kindness, in this parable should be taken any more literally than the other 3.
Where Context mattered:
  • Parable of the wedding feast
  • The king provided the clothes
  • Parable of the talents
  • Talent was the unit of measure of currency
  • Parable of the sheep and goats
  • Last of four parables on the same topic
We also need to take into context what the intended audience would have understood Him to be saying.


Today we will look at the Beatitudes.
The book of Matthew consists of 5 major teaching moments from Jesus.  The sermon on the Mount is the first of these.  The other four are Matthew 10, Matthew 13 (1–53), Matthew 18 and the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24-25.  
We have covered:
  • The Olivet discourse (Matthew 24 - 25)
  • Matthew 13 (parables of: sower, mustard seed, weeds, dragnet,...)
4 out of 5 of these teachings focused on The Kingdom of God.  
The Sermon is set early in the Ministry of Jesus, after he has been baptized by John the Baptist in chapter 3 of Matthew's Gospel, gathered his first disciples in chapter 4, and had returned from a long fast and contemplation in the Judaean Desert where he had been tempted by Satan.
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus' longest speech and teaching, and occupies chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew. The Sermon has been one of the most widely quoted elements of the Canonical Gospels.  The beatitudes are the opening verses of the famous Sermon on the Mount. 
Luke and John cover the sermon on the mount but not to the extent that Matthew did. There are differences between the version of this sermon and Luke and in Matthew, so there is debate as to whether they are referring to the same sermon.  Some scholars say that, Matthew did not always write in chronological order so perhaps he is giving a summary of various teachings of Jesus.

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3 " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
12 "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  • These are the people who are blessed but these are not the reasons which they are blessed for


The word beatitudes is not in the Bible
The word "beatitude" comes from the Latin beatitudo, meaning "blessedness." This is the word used in each of the “blessed are…” statements.  
  • From the Vulgate
makários ("blessed") describes a believer in enviable("fortunate") position from receiving God's provisions (favor) – which (literally) extend ("make long, large") His grace (benefits).
The word blessed does not convey the full meaning of the word makarios (μακάριος), which also means happy.
  • The corresponding Hebrew word Jesus must have used is ‘esher (רשא) and means “”blessed”, “happy” and “fortunate” all at once, so that no one English word is adequate.” (Stern 1999:23).
First it should be mentioned that the initial phrase of each of the Beatitudes does not contain a verb.  There is no "are," no "is," no "blessed are..." Instead of reading them as statements, then, (e.g., "blessed are the poor in spirit") they should be read as exclamations: "O the blessedness of the poor in spirit!" This way of reading agrees with the Hebrew use of ashrei (אשׁרי), a particle interjection that means "how happy!" (from the root (אשׁר) that means to walk righteously in joy) that is often used in the Psalms. Each initial phrase therefore does not function as a conditional statement, but rather expresses a present reality: "O the joy of the poor in sprit, of the mourners, of the gentle, of those who sincerely care for what is right, of those who are merciful, of those pure in heart, of those who make peace, of those who are persecuted."

Biblical Context

Biblical Occurrences

As a literary form, the beatitude is also found often in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament as well.
  • A rabbi pronouncing blessings on people has a long pre-existing history in Jewish culture.
The word "beatitude" comes from the Latin beatitudo, meaning "blessedness."
Psalms 1:1
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
Psalms 119:1-2
1How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.

Sermon on the Plain

Scholars debate whether this is referring to the same sermon as Matthew's sermon on the mount
Luke 6:20-26
 20And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25“Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
  • There are 4 blessings and 4 woes.
  • Woe to those who are satisfied
  • Happy are those who are seeking more

Cultural Context

There are other ancient writings that follow a similar style.

Scroll of Wisdom - Dead Sea Scrolls

[Blessed is he who speaks truth] with a pure heart and who does not slander with his tongue.
Blessed are those who cling to his statutes and who do not cling to her ways of perversity.
Blessed are those who rejoice because of her and who do not spread themselves in the ways of folly.
Blessed is he who seeks her with pure hands and who does not go after her with a deceitful heart.
Blessed the man who has attained Wisdom and walks in the law of the Most High and applies his heart to her ways, who cherishes her lessons and ev[e]r rejoices in her corrections, but who does not repel her in the pain of [his] misfortune[s?] (or in the distress of tri[al?]) and in bad times does not abandon her who does not forget her [in days of] terror and in his humility of soul does not reproach [her].
The Essene Jewish community believe they are the only ones who are actually living like this.

​Wisdom of Jesus Ben-Sirach

A Jewish Scholar from 150 BC - Sirach 25v7-11
(fl. 2nd century BCE)

I can think of nine whom I would call blessed,
and a tenth my tongue proclaims:
a man who can rejoice in his children;
a man who lives to see the downfall of his foes.
Blessed is the man who lives with a sensible wife,
and the one who does not plow with ox and ass together.​​
Blessed is the one who does not sin with the tongue, and the one who has not served an inferior.
Blessed is the one who finds a friend,​​
and the one who speaks to attentive listeners.
How great is the one who finds wisdom!
But none is superior to the one who fears the Lord.

Various Interpretations

Following are various views on what the beatitudes is attempting to teach us…
The Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple and his rewards, both present and future. The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still "outside the kingdom."
Those who possess these qualities will be rewarded in the next life.  It is a warning to people who are happy/successful now telling them that they have already received their reward in this life.
St. Gregory of Nyssa saw the Beatitudes as arranged like so many steps, so as to facilitate the ascent from one to another. For example, a humble person comes to be meek, or becomes gentle and kind, and exhibits a docility of spirit, even in the face of adversity and hardship.
Do not fall into the mistake of supposing that the opening verses of the sermon on the mount tell you how to be saved. You’ll find the fullest instruction on how to be saved in other parts of the Lord’s teaching. This tells you what are the marks of the evidence of God‘s grace on your life.  
The beatitudes is the work salvation that is meant to be focused on the Jews going through the Millennium
This is not a checklist of things that you are supposed to accomplish. This is a list of things that Jesus is doing in our lives.  This is a process that will take a lifetime and beyond.
Jesus is not just saying happy or fortunate are these people. Jesus is pronouncing a blessing upon these people.
Similar to baseball… when does the ball or a straight happen? It happened when the umpire says ball or strike.
When is a couple married? They are married when the man of God says I now pronounce you man and wife, or when the man of God signs the paper pronouncing them man and wife.
Jesus is making a proclamation that they are now blessed.
When we view the beatitudes as goals we often have to come up with colorful interpretations of the words poor in spirit, mourning, persecuted for righteousness, etc. to make them desirable.


It seems simple until we start to think about it. Why is Jesus pronouncing a blessing over people cry a lot. Why is he pronouncing blessings over people who get beat up?  
What does it mean to be blessed? Who is he talking to in the first place?

Who Was He talking to?

Who is Jesus saying these nine blessings to and on what occasion?
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.

Who Were “His Disciples”?

Jesus’ audience was made up of mostly Disciples but a lot of other people were listening in.
When it says Jesus’ “Disciples “ followed him we have to realize that the 12 disciples were not chosen yet (not until chapter 10).
Only 4 of the 12 had been chosen so far. 

Makeup of The Crowd

Matthew 4:23-25
23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.
25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.
  • This is the crowd who was at the Sermon on the Mount

The crowds were poor and desperate people

If you were one of these marginalized you lived in the slums. There was no welfare, no food stamps, no government aid.
These people were poor subsistence living day laborers.
The disciples were fishermen, sick, hurting, poor people.
We can’t view this as Silicon Valley poor. If you had choices of what to eat every day you were rich. The poor were living day to day hand to mouth.  If you can take a sick day and not worry about what you were going to eat then you are rich.
They are the lowest social class
  • Jesus is promising them the kingdom of God and inheriting the earth.
These words would have been electric to this crowd crowd.  

Jesus Came for the Poor and Marginalized

Previously Jesus had began reading this passage in the temple announcing that he was the Messiah
Isaiah 61:1 - 3
1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
            Because the LORD has anointed me
            To bring good news to the afflicted;
            He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
            To proclaim liberty to captives
            And freedom to prisoners;
      2To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
            And the day of vengeance of our God;
            To comfort all who mourn,
      3To grant those who mourn in Zion,
            Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
            The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
            The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
            So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
            The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.


Jesus is not saying that we should try to be meek, poor in spirit, persecuted for righteousness. Jesus is saying that these are the ones to whom he brought the kingdom of God.
  • He is not giving this as a goal.
These were the majority of His followers
The blessing was not holding the person up as a model to which you want to attain to.
  • The blessing is stating that these are the people who accepted Jesus, and they are blessed because they accept Him as the Messiah.
They are the ones who had hearts of “good soil”.
  • They were receptive
Jesus is describing those who have an honest and pure heart. These are the people that Jesus went to and these are the people who accepted Jesus’s message. That is why they were blessed.
These are not the criteria to be a good Christian.  This is simply a description of those who were following Jesus at the time.
“Too often, these characteristics of the blessings in Christian history, have been turned into ideals or virtues that we must strive to attain (poor in spirit, mourning etc). When we do that, we turn them into formulas that help us gain status and favor with God, which of course is precisely the opposite of what he’s trying to say.
Rather they’re descriptions of the kinds of people to whom Jesus in fact first brought the kingdom of God. Nowhere does Jesus tell us that we should try to be poor in spirit or mourning all of the time or try to get yourself persecuted.  He simply announces the great surprise that these people who are not significant or honored in their society are precisely the ones who have received the honor to be first among those let into God‘s kingdom.”
- Stanley Hauerwas
“the last shall be first and the first shall be last”.
  • Those who were the lowest in society were the first let into the kingdom

The Beatitudes (Verse by Verse)

Now let’s get a deeper look at those who accepted Jesus as Messiah.

Poor in spirit

3 " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Who are the poor in spirit?
  • Poor
  • People who don’t know what the future holds for them
  • Spiritually poor
  • Not religious leaders
  • Not significant in their spiritual community
These people are both the economically poor which is tied to their status in the religious community.
With “the poor in spirit” Jesus refers back to Isaiah 66:2 “the poor and contrite in spirit” (KJV).
Isaiah 66:1-2
1 Thus says the LORD,
"Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that Imay rest?
2 "For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD.
"But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.
  • The Greek word used for poor here portrays a beggar, one who is destitute of resources.
  • The Hebrew word for “poor” is ’aniy (ינע)[3], meaning not only poor, but also humble and lowly.
Jesus is saying that being in this low position is favorable because the kingdom of God is available to you.
Jesus has the idea that those who are in the most dire circumstances are the ones who are most likely to be willing to receive help from someone else.  
People who have nothing to lose will follow Jesus.
People who can lose their property, leadership position, land,  or kingdom have a lot to lose from following Jesus.  The ones who are the most poor and insignificant are the ones who get the first offer because Jesus knows that they are more likely to respond.


4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Are they mourning over a death?
Jesus doesn’t get specific about why these people are morning.
  • It could be bereavement, but we assume that there was heartbreak, and a deep felt grief.  
  • It would include those who grieve over the sin in the world as well as their own sin.  
2 Corinthians 12:20-21
20 For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced.
  • Paul speaks of mourning over sin
People are so bothered by the tragedy and the evil and the broken relationships that they see happening in the world it grieves them.  
Blessed are the people who don’t see the problems of the world and choose a lifestyle of distracting themselves from the issues of the world. Blessed are the people who don’t numb themselves with TV or drinking or partying in order to not think about what is going on.
Blessed are those who don’t just change the channel when the commercial of the starving children comes on
  • They get sad
These are the ones who are happy because God will be bringing something into the world that will make this right and you will be satisfied.

Meek / Gentle

5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
To be meek is not to think of yourself as important.  Moses was extremely important but he thought of himself as unimportant. The group that Jesus is talking to thinks of them self as unimportant… Because they are unimportant.
Blessed are the people who see the atrocities going on in the world who are deeply bothered by it but have no power to change it.  

Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
You don’t choose to become hungry or thirsty. It is something that happens to you that you wish to change.  
  • Hunger and thirst it’s a desire so strong that you can’t ignore it
  • To be hungry and thirsty and a longing for something assumes that it is not there
  • These people have a deep unmet longing to see you righteousness happen in the world
It’s not just  a right relationship with God, but also…
Righteousness is right relationship with other people
  • And act of righteousness is doing something to maintain the relationship with another person
  • This person “did right” by her man
To be righteous is to act in the manner in which you should act for this relationship.
These are the people who have not seen righteousness.
  • These are the people deprived of righteousness.
  • These are the people deprived of justice.
  • Righteousness and justice are the same word in the Greek.  
This is the person who’s been wronged by someone else and they are longing for someone to make things right.  
  • They will be filled with what they long for which is God‘s justice and God's righteousness.
  • Rape victims
  • Abused by police
  • Got their name spelled wrong on Starbucks cup ;-)
Example: they have a part of God’s heart
Jesus is saying blessed are the people who notice something that God notices. And they are blessed because the kingdom is here.


7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Mercy is an act of care and compassion to help someone who is hurting.
Mercy is the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress. Love, compassion, and forgiveness towards a family member or neighbor.
We say in the Lord's Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. As we are merciful to others, we pray our Heavenly Father will be merciful to us!
  • or do we?

Pure in Heart

8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
They are not seeking gain or approval or accolades from men.
  • They only care about a relationship with God.  
To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires.  Such an act is pure love. An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all.

Shall See God

Moses (Exodus 33:20), John 1:18, and Paul (I Timothy 6:16) all say that no one can see God here on earth.  But here and elsewhere God says that the pure in heart will see Him.
Psalms 24:3-5
    3Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
            And who may stand in His holy place?
      4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
            Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
            And has not sworn deceitfully.
      5He shall receive a blessing from the LORD
            And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
We think of the heart as a center for our emotions and the brain for the center of our intellect
They thought of the heart as a center for all of those things


9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
He is talking to the people who see other people in conflict with each other and they go out of their way to resolve the conflict between two with no benefit to themselves.
Reconciliation is one of the highest values of the kingdom.
  • Leave your tithe at the altar

Persecuted for Righteousness

10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I always thought of this as being those who suffer for being Christians.  This is actually saying if you suffer for righteousness not just Christianity.  This speaks to any human righteousness.
This speaks of those who see injustice and actually do something about it even though it puts them in danger.  
  • This is more than a tweet, or a Facebook comment.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who was hanged on April 9, 1945 for condemning the leadership of Hitler in Nazi Germany.
Another Central American martyr was Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated while saying Mass at Divine Providence Hospital on March 24, 1980 for speaking out against government human rights violations.

God Hears The Blood of Martyrs

Genesis talks about the blood of Abel crying out to God
Genesis 4:10
He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.
Revelations 6:9-11
 9When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”11And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

When People Insult and Persecute You

11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
12 "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
  • This is speaking of Christians
Example: Co-worker in Kansas

Self Portrait

Whose picture do you see in these 9 blessing?

Matthew 11:28-29
28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Isaiah 9:6
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Can you think of somebody who came from poor insignificant circumstances who mourned over the state of this world?  Someone who was extremely important but did not think of himself as such. Through His acts of mercy to hurting individuals He healed the sick and gave sight to the blind. He inserted himself  into dangerous situations between people who hate each other, and was ultimately persecuted and killed for it.
Jesus is the perfect embodiment of these blessings.  

Under Construction (Application)

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
  • Once you are a Christian for a while you’ll realize that God is trying to change you in ways that you didn’t anticipate
  • Being a good Christian may involve changes to our character that we did not want or value
James 1:12
 12Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
For most of us navigating life means overcoming our circumstances or other people.
  • For Jesus navigating life means overcoming yourself.

Life Changes

We need to be aware that God is working through the people and events in our lives to develop the character of Jesus Christ in us
When we are proud, God is able to bring people or circumstances into our lives to humble us.
  • Instead of recognizing these agents as instruments of God for our good, we tend to react to them as intrusions.
When people disagree with you, do you disregard their perspective and forcefully argue your position?
  • It takes humility to listen quietly and consider carefully what they have to say.
  • Do you tend to cut off those who ignore you?
  • Responding graciously to rudeness requires humility.

Do you find it extremely difficult to admit when you are wrong?
  • Admitting your faults and asking for forgiveness are expressions of humility.
  • Do you give criticism before others ask for your opinion?
  • It’s easy to think we know how to solve another person’s problems, but it takes humility to share advice appropriately.
Are you quick to correct others when they make mistakes?
  • Humble yourself by being patient with others.
  • Wait to speak until you understand the situation.
  • Ask others to point out your own blind spots.
Do you show sincere appreciation to God and others for how they have benefited your life?
  • That involves recognizing that we owe our achievements to the investments that God and others have made in our lives, and thanking them for what they have done.
  • “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

The fear of the Lord is foundational to all true success
  • The fear of the Lord is the awareness that God sees all that we do and that He will hold us accountable for our thoughts, motives, words, and actions.
  • It involves a fear of punishment for wrongdoing, a fear of damaging God’s reputation when we do wrong things, and a fear of interrupting our fellowship with the Lord when we sin.

Deference vs. Rudeness
Practicing deference involves limiting personal freedoms in words, attitudes, or actions in order to not cause offense to others.
  • Deference chooses to forgo personal satisfaction so that others will not be injured.
Gentleness vs. Harshness
Gentleness seeks to live in peace with others.
  • It responds to weakness with patience.
  • A harsh reaction to weakness can prompt bitterness and hinder others from the growth and learning they could experience through the hardship.

Wisdom vs. Foolishness
A wise person behaves in a way that brings peace, but a foolish person’s attitudes, words, and actions stir up anger and wrath.
  • A wise person will love one who rebukes him, but a fool will react to reproofs.
  •  A wise person learns from his mistakes and also from the mistakes of others, while a foolish person fails to see the cause-and-effect relationship between his actions and the reproofs of life.
  • A wise person controls his tongue, but a foolish person speaks whatever is on his mind.
  • A wise person listens to counsel and instruction, but a foolish person despises the instruction of wisdom. (See Proverbs 1:7–9.)
  • Wisdom builds up; foolishness tears down. (See Proverbs 14:1.)

Being Merciful
To show mercy is to withhold the punishment that an offense deserves.
  • When we show mercy to others, one of the rewards is that mercy will be shown to us.
  • A merciful person is ready to forgive an offender.
Compassion vs. Indifference
Compassion is responding to a need with a desire and willingness to do whatever is necessary to bring healing.
  • It is more than feeling sorry for someone’s pain; it is feeling pain along with him and doing all that can be done to ease that pain.
  • A compassionate person sees faults of others to the pain inside.
  • He will then act to help heal those hurts, instead of responding in anger.


The beatitudes do not describe Christian goals of how we should live our lives.  Nor are the beatitudes Jesus’ explanation of how to be blessed or saved.
Jesus is describing those who were receptive to His message.  These are the people who were broken enough to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  The poor, the meek, the persecuted, those mourning were in a state where they were seeking a savior.
Jesus was describing those to whom He first brought the Kingdom
Here is an example of how Jesus may have phrased His message now...

Modernized Adaptation of the Beatitudes

Blessed are the down and out, the unemployed and the underemployed, those getting gentrified, those on the wrong side of globalization, those without a college degree or health insurance, and those who are not noticed in church, who no one looks up to for spiritual guidance, because the kingdom of God is here for you.
Blessed are the sad, the depressed, those mourning the death of a loved one, acts of terrorism, the failure of a marriage, another miscarriage, the pain of your genogram, the racism of our nation, those who are mourning over their own sin - because the kingdom of God is available to you and one day God himself will wipe away every tear from your eyes.

Blessed are the weak, the unimportant, the quiet, the shy, the socially awkward, the uncool, the badly dressed, the people with six followers on Instagram - because one day you will be free from the tyranny of what others think of you, and you will take up your role as a king or queen in God’s new world.

Blessed are the messed up, those who can’t get it together - the addict, the mentally unstable, those from an abusive home - for you will one day be so full of God’s love that you won’t know where to put it all.

Blessed are those who see and feel the pain of this world and don’t ignore it, don’t anesthetize themselves with distraction and comfort, but long for something better, long for God to put the world to rights.

Blessed are those who see and feel the pains of this world and instead of getting bitter, instead of hiding, instead of hating, instead of Facebook ranting, instead of becoming complacent, act in small merciful ways.

Blessed is the little guy, the people who get stomped on, passed over, and don’t fight violence with violence - one day, you will get all that mercy back with interest.

Blessed are those who want nothing to do with oppression, greed and violence, but who know the true source of peace and prosperity isn’t in a gun or more wealth or a better economy, but rather in a quiet peaceable life with God.

Blessed are the ones willing to suffer to bring a new world to bear through loving their enemies - one day, in the future, as you cling to Jesus you will see, experience and live in God’s kingdom fully realized.

Blessed are all the Jesus followers in a hostile post-Christian society, even if they are made fun of, looked down on as stupid and non inclusive  and behind the times -- they get to share in the cross-shaped life of Jesus and the kingdom of God in the here and now and into eternity.
Jesus is saying you are the blessed one. God is for you. You are the one who will intuitively accept the value of the kingdom.  
Jesus saw that those who had little to lose were more likely to follow Him.  But what about those with a lot to lose?
Are we willing to trade it in for Jesus?   Are we willing to follow God’s will for your life?  What are you willing to let go of?
Jesus is waiting with His arms wide open.  The Kingdom of God was prepared for you at the beginning of time.  Accept His invitation … come home to Jesus!

Instructor: Michael Leadon


A Kingdom of Blessing [Matthew] - Tim Mackie (The Bible Project)
What Are the Beatitudes?
How Can The Beatitudes Help Us Resolve Anger?
Hebrew Idioms in the Gospel of Matthew



The teachings of Jesus of Nazareth were simple but unique and innovative during his time on earth. The historical setting of his life found that He began teaching about 30 AD during the ruthless Roman occupation of Palestine. There were four major groups in the Jewish religion then, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and the Zealots, all of whom presented a different viewpoint to the Hebrew people. The Pharisees demanded strict observance of the Mosaic law expressed in the Torah, but also accepted the oral tradition of Jewish customs and rituals. The Sadducees were mainly from the priestly families and accepted the Law of Moses but rejected oral tradition. The Pharisees, unlike the Sadducees, believed in the resurrection of the dead. The monastic Essenes awaited a Messiah that would establish a Kingdom on earth and free the Israelites from oppression. The Zealots were a militant Jewish group who wanted freedom for their homeland, and were centered in Galilee; one of the Twelve Apostles was Simon the Zealot.

The Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the Old Testament Book of Exodus, related a series of "Thou shalt not" phrases, evils one must avoid in daily life on earth.
Most of us have never experienced true hunger or thirst.
Mercy is when you see someone in a dire situation and you are inclined to do something about itq
Jesus said this is a mark of the disciple. We aren’t there yet but that is sanctification played out.
Church Santa Monica
Gandhi said he was inspired by the sermon on the mount and tried to live by.  
The sermon on the mount is likely Matthew distilling Jesus is mountain top teachings.
The sermon of the mount is not a sermon on how to become a Christian. This is what the Christian life looks like.
Blessed means this is who God smiles that.  This is it a list of eight types of people. This is a list of one group of people who have all of these characteristics.
The first half is how we relate to God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit
We say that it is all up to Jesus but we live as if it was have a penny need a penny in Jesus was making up the difference because we were very close.
Blessed are those who are morning
Jesus is Jesus saying happy are those who are sad?  Jesus is not talking about those who have lost loved ones. This is the type of morning a week over sin and our lives and the consequences of sin in the world.  Somewhat sometimes we make so much of grace that it causes us not to mourn over our own sanity.
We are to weep over our own sinfulness.
Meek can be humble or gentle.  meekness is my attitudes towards myself and an expression of that relationship to others.
Jesus is saying show mercy you will receive mercy.
Jesus emphasized N-word purity over ceremonial purity.
We are called to be peacemakers not troublemakers. Peacemakers in our homes peacemakers at our jobs peacemakers on Facebook.
Jesus congratulations those whom the world looks down on.  Well we live like our culture or will we live like Jesus is followers.
These should be the characteristics that Mark who you are.

Biblical Context

Malachi end it the old testament with curses
Jesus began the New Testament with blessings
John 20:29
29 Jesus *said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
Revelation 14:13
13And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”

Various Views

Each saying speaks of a blessing or "divine favor" that will be bestowed on the person who possesses a certain character quality.
The phrase "blessed are" in each beatitude implies a current state of happiness or well-being. This expression held powerful meaning of "divine joy and perfect happiness" to the people of the day. In other words, Jesus was saying "divinely happy and fortunate are those who possess these inward qualities." While speaking of a current "blessedness," each pronouncement also promised a future reward.

Who Was He Talking To?

The audience included Pharisees, Sadducees, zealots, Essenes.  Pharisees said go back the Sadducees said go forward The zealot said go against and Essenes said go away.


Luke 8:15
15 "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

Poor in Spirit

Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God. To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to the Word of God. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God. He who humbles himself is able to accept our frail nature, to repent, and to allow the grace of God to lead us to conversion.

It is pride, the opposite of humility, that brings misery. For pride brings anger and the seeking of revenge, especially when one is offended. If every man were humble and poor in spirit, there would be no war!
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The Greek word used for poor here portrays a beggar, one who is destitute of resources. A beggar humbly acknowledges his needs and hopes others will have mercy on him. Whatever is given to him is more than he deserves, and he is grateful for it. Two character qualities are foundational for being poor in spirit: humility and gratefulness.


If we are humble and appreciate that all of our gifts and blessings come from God, we grow in love and gratitude for Jesus Christ our Savior. But this can only produce mourning and regret over our own sins and the sins of this world, for we have hurt the one who has been so good to us. One also mourns for the suffering of others.

St. Gregory describes another reason to mourn: the more one ascends in meditation of Divine Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, and then realize the poverty of human nature, man can only be left in sorrow. When one contemplates that we were made in the image and likeness of God and lived in Paradise, the Garden of Eden, and compare that to our present state after the Fall, one can only mourn our present condition. But the sentence continues that they shall be comforted, by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and hopefully one day in the Kingdom of Heaven. Pray for the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Mourning in this context is called a blessing, because mourning our fallen nature creates in us a desire to improve ourselves and to do what is right!
Jesus is talking about those who mourn the loss of their innocence their righteousness and their self respect.  It is not the sorrow of bereavement to which Christ refers but the sorrow of repentance.


Jesus was "meek and humble of heart" (Matthew 11:29). A person that is meek is one that exhibits self-control. St. Augustine advises us to be meek in the face of the Lord, and not resist but be obedient to him. Obedience and submission to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days, but they will bring one peace in this world and in the next.
Psalms 37
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
Blessed are the meek the little people the people without power the people who do not insist on it being their way.
Scripture: A little while and the wicked will be no more. You will look for them and they will not be found. And then meet Shal and Harriet the earth.
Humility vs. Pride
Humility is acknowledging total dependence on God and seeking His guidance for every decision. It involves learning to reflect the character of Jesus Christ, who said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart . . .” (Matthew 11:29). This one quality will do more to conquer a spirit of anger than any other, because “only by pride cometh contention . . .” (Proverbs 13:10a.)

Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Justice and righteousness in the New Covenant indicate the fulfillment of God's will in your heart and soul. It is not mere observance of the law (Matthew 5:20), but rather an expression of brotherly love (I John 3:10). A continuous desire for justice and moral perfection will lead one to a fulfillment of that desire - a transition and conversion to holiness. This is true for all the virtues - if you hunger and thirst for temperance, you will head towards the goal you have in mind. St. Augustine called the Beatitudes the ideal for every Christian life! In his discourse on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, he noted the correspondence of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and their necessity in fulfilling the Beatitudes. For example, one must have the gift of fortitude so one may be courageous in seeking social justice.
You can if you hunger and thirst for righteousness as those who have a zeal for God those who are on fire for the word. You can also view hunger and thirst as a sign that you have not eaten or drank in a while. These are the people who have not seen righteousness. These are the people deprived of righteousness. These are the people deprived of justice. Righteousness and justice are the same word in the Greek.  This is the person who’s been wronged by someone else and they are longing not for justice but for someone to make things right.  there waiting for someone to make restitution to them.   They will be filled with what they Long for which is God‘s justice and God's righteousness.
If you don’t know your lack of righteousness then you don’t know the standard that you are supposed to be comparing yourself to. If you haven’t more and then you just need to keep living.  If you dare to love your heart will be broken and we were all deeply loved and green and mourn.
Justice and righteousness in the New Covenant indicate the fulfillment of God's will in your heart and soul. It is not mere observance of the law (Matthew 5:20), but rather an expression of brotherly love (I John 3:10).


"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36). Mercy is the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress. Love, compassion, and forgiveness towards a family member or neighbor will bring peace in your relationships. We say in the Lord's Prayer: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. As we are merciful to others, we pray our Heavenly Father will be merciful to us! Jesus reminds us that whatever "you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:31-46). St. Paul calls for the obedience of faith in the beginning and end of his Letter to the Romans (1:5, 16:25-27). The following are ways to be merciful to others as well as to be obedient in faith to Christ our Savior.

Based on Jesus' doctrine of the sheep and the goats, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy are a means of grace as good deeds and their omission is a reason for damnation.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Corporal works of mercy are those that tend to the bodily needs of other creatures.
  1. To feed the hungry.
  2. To give water to the thirsty.
  3. To clothe the naked.
  4. To shelter the homeless.
  5. To visit the sick.
  6. To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
  7. To bury the dead.

Spiritual Works of Mercy 

Just as the corporal works of mercy are directed towards relieving corporeal suffering, the aim of the spiritual works of mercy is to relieve spiritual suffering. The first four come from Ezekiel 33,[24] the fifth comes from the mitzvah of forgiving others before receiving forgiveness from God,[25] the sixth comes from Deuteronomy 15,[26] and the seventh comes from Maccabees 2.[27]

The works include:
  1. To instruct the ignorant.
  2. To counsel the doubtful.
  3. To admonish the sinners.
  4. To bear patiently those who wrong us.
  5. To forgive offenses.
  6. To comfort the afflicted.
  7. To pray for the living and the dead.
scripture: he has shown you what is good old man and what does the Lord require of you but to add justly me and… I desire mercy and sacrifice rather than burnt offerings
The first test of obedience to Jesus is not whether it makes one morally tougher but whether it makes them mercifully softer

Pure in Heart

Moses (Exodus 33:20), John 1:18, and Paul (I Timothy 6:16) all say that no one can see God here on earth. God is hidden. But Jesus says the pure of heart shall see God! To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. What a beautiful goal! How many times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal gain? Such an act is pure love. An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all.

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God
Scripture: Who may appear on the hill of the Lord who may stand in his holy place one who has a pure heart and a peer of mine – Psalms 24
Jesus said they will see God. You have to realize that in that day they thought to see God was to die. They longed for an opportunity to see God. Jesus is saying and you will see God through him.


Jesus gives us peace - "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Peacemakers not only live peaceful lives but also try to bring peace and friendship to others, and to preserve peace between God and man. But one cannot give another what one does not possess oneself. Praying for peace will help change your heart. The Lord wants you first to be filled with the blessings of peace and then to pass it on to those who have need of it. By imitating God's love of man, the peacemakers become children of God.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God
For to us a child is born to us a son is given and the government will be upon his shoulders… he will be called wonderful Counselor

Persecuted for Righteousness

Jesus said many times that those who follow Him will be persecuted. "If they persecute me, they will persecute you" (John 15:20-21). Before his Conversion, Saul persecuted the early Church in Jerusalem, which scattered the Christians throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). St. Peter advised "Whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name" (I Peter 4:16). The Woman who brought forth the male child destined to rule all nations with an iron rod was persecuted in Revelation 12.

Stephen, Peter and Paul, nearly all of the Apostles, and many Christians in the Roman era suffered martyrdom. Oppressive governments and endless conflicts in the last one hundred years, such as World Wars I and II, and the Middle East wars in Iraq, Egypt, and Syria have seen their share of martyrs, such as Maximilian Kolbe, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Latin American martyrs, and Middle East Christians. St. Maximilian Kolbe offered his life in place of a stranger at the Auschwitz death camps on August 14, 1941. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who was hanged on April 9, 1945 for condemning the leadership of Hitler in Nazi Germany. The Central American Martyrs include the 38 recognized martyrs of La Cristiada, the Cristero War from 1926 to 1929, when the Mexican government persecuted priests of the Catholic Church, such as St. Christopher Magallanes, St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez, and the 14 year old martyr Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio. Another Central American martyr was Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated while saying Mass at Divine Providence Hospital on March 24, 1980 for speaking out against government human rights violations.

Middle Eastern Christians have suffered severe persecution since the crises in Iraq and Syria. At least 58 Christians were slaughtered during Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Eastern Catholic Church in Baghdad on October 31, 2010. In July 2014 the terrorist Islamic State marked remaining Christian homes in Mosul with the Arabic letter Noon - for Nazarene, Nasrani, or Nasara - and advised residents that they have 24 hours to leave, convert to Islam, or die. Sixty thousand Christians in Mosul have been displaced from their homes, and over one million Christians have fled Iraq since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. It is estimated that the present turmoil in Syria has resulted in over 700,000 Christian refugees escaping to Jordan, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern countries. But the Lord promised those that suffer for his sake will be rewarded with the Kingdom of Heaven!
Psalms 37
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming.

Under Construction

When you're living in a life greater than your own failure just enhances the story
Jesus didn't come to give us a way out of the pain
  • He came to give us a way through the pain

Your faith doesn't make life easier
  • Your faith makes you stronger
When does church get passionate about truth if it forgets about social justice. When the church gets passionate about social justice it forgets about truth.
[ Tim Keller‘s story about Jesus wept that Jesus is about truth and compassion]
The beatitudes turn the value system of the world upside down.
Luke says poor Matthew says poor in spirit. Luke will not let us spiritualize it and overlook the social implications. Matthew will not let us socialize it and overlook the spiritual implications.
These people were the marginalized the downtrodden and the oppressed and they knew it and they felt it.  Jesus proclaimed the glasses are this downtrodden and spiritually impressed that those of the ones that he came for.

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