Blessed

Matthew 5:1-12
5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.
5:2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I’ve been a Christian for fifty some years. But even in my preteen years I began to delve into the bible, trying to understand, to gain wisdom. In my teens I began to become a doubter. In my twenties I gave my life to God and Jesus as Christ and began once again to study the bible. I attended bible college with no goal other than to deepen my understanding of God’s word.

When I first began to preach, I told people, “I’m not really a preacher. I’m a student of the bible and just want to share what I’ve learned.”

I’ve said all that to confess this, I’ve always thought that the teachings of the beatitudes was to the multitudes on the mountain, commonly called the sermon on the mount. However, both the gospels of Matthew and Luke clearly state that he was teaching his disciples. I’m sure that some of those around them also heard but it was directed toward those who were his closest companions. Matthew 5:1
5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. and Luke 6:20 And lifting up his eyes to his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

How have I missed this all of these years? Did someone come in while I was sleeping and insert those words into my bibles? No, of course not. But the new question is, now that I know this was a specific teaching for a specific group of men, how does that change my understanding of the story?

First, let us understand the biblical meaning of being blessed.

God’s intention and desire to bless humanity is a central focus of his covenant relationships. For this reason, the concept of blessing pervades the biblical record. Two distinct ideas are present.

  1. First, a blessing was a public declaration of a favored status with God.
  2. Second, the blessing endowed power for prosperity and success.

In all cases, the blessing served as a guide and motivation to pursue a course of life within the blessing.” (Bible Study Tools.com)

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Poor in spirit, what does that mean? I checked with some other translations.

(GW, God’s Word) Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”

( T4T, Translation for Translators) Matthew 5:3 “God is pleased with people who recognize that they have a spiritual need; he will allow them to be the people whose lives he rules over.”

(E2R,Easy to Read Version) Matthew 5:3 “Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need. God’s kingdom belongs to them.”

  • Spiritually poor, spiritually in need, and spiritually helpless. Been there, done that. Truly the first step toward salvation is to realize our need and helplessness. To personalize Romans 3:23 I have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Only by recognizing that we are spiritually bankrupt can we be ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 God is pleased with people who mourn because they have sinned; they will be encouraged {he will encourage them.} (T4T version)

Matthew 5:4 Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. (E2T version)

We mourn for those people, things, and opportunities that we have lost. We also mourn during times of hardship that have become unbearable. It is then that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.

(KJV) Romans 8:26-27 ” At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to.”

  • “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

I used to think that meek was synonymous with weak. But that isn’t true to be truly meek you must have great inner strength. Jesus was meek. He was submissive. He was a servant to all, but none would say he was weak. He was actually restating what the psalmist had written centuries before.
(ASV, American Standard Version) Psalms 37:10-11 “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and he shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” God will remove the wicked so that the meek may life in peace.

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

To be righteous is to be morally good, respectful, and honorable. To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to strive for this godly behavior as if your life depends upon it.

  • 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35 begins with Peter asking how many times he must forgive. And Jesus taught in the Lord’s prayer that we are forgiven as we forgive.

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

Matthew 5:8

(E2R) Great blessings belong to those whose thoughts are pure. They will be with God. We know that we are not speaking of our literal heart, the muscle that pumps the blood through our body. The heart spoken of is our inward being. We also know that without the grace of God we can not achieve that purity out heart. King David wrote, (Psalms 50:11-12) “Turn your face away from my sins, and erase all my iniquities. Create a clean heart in me, O God. And renew an upright spirit within my inmost being.”

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

James 3:18 “And so the fruit of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We are to seek peace even to the point of loving our enemies. Matthew 5:44 “But I (Jesus) say to you: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. And pray for those who persecute and slander you.” Now that is a peace maker because you must make peace within yourself to love your enemies.

Remember, once again, that Jesus was teaching his disciples to be: poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, seek righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, and to be peacemakers. And what reward was he promising them?

  • 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • 5:11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

This was their earthly reward. And indeed if you read the lives of the apostles, they were persecuted. Most suffered cruel deaths. But their true reward was not of this earth not on this earth.

  • 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Now what does this teaching mean to us, to you and me? We are Christ’s disciples in this time arms I this place. We are where the rubber hits the road. We are Christ,’s hands and feet in this age. We are his voice to those around us. He has given us a checklist of how we can be blessed to bless. Amen.