Many people are referring these days to the beatitudes in response to our present issues. I decided to take a step back and look at the book of Mathew 5:2-12 and Luke 6:20-22 and see what insight we can gather from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.
1: Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Poor in spirit is not the same as poor in material possessions. I know people who are very poor in material possessions and yet they are rich in Spiritual blessings because they are of humble spirit. I also know people who are rich in material possessions and don’t have an idea of their spiritual poverty as their ego is incredibly high. Let me explain it this way: Poor in Spirit is the knowledge that without God, we are nothing and have no hope. It is the knowledge and desire to be more like Christ.
Let us read it this way: “Blessed are those who know their own state without Christ for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”
2: Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
Jesus was not referring to our mourning over earthly troubles . Maybe we mourn because we loss someone; most of us do at one time or another. Maybe we mourn over something we want and can’t have. No, Jesus is talking about mourning over the brokenness of this world and it’s rejection to the gift of salvation which is found in Christ. It is mourning over a world that will be lost if unable to find its way.
Let us read it this way: ” Blessed are those who cry with me over the lost for they shall be comforted”
3: Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
What kind of gentleness is He referring to? Is it softness? Kindness? good works? loving and accepting? For John 3:16 says “whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life” Would He be contradicting Himself here? I believe He is referring to the humility that comes from knowing Christ.
Let us read it this way: “Blessed are those who allow Christ to work through them for they will inherit the earth.”
4: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
There is no righteousness unless it is through the eyes of Christ. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we are able to discern. In Him, the righteousness of God is found. 2nd Corinthians 5:21 says: For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.You see, It is not about the poor and hungry physically. It is about the one who knows he is poor, hungry and thirsty for the Lord.
Let us read it this way: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Me (Christ) For they shall be satisfied.”
5: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Because you knew Me (Christ) and made me priority in your life, you will be merciful. You will care about the poor, the weak, the defenseless. You will have mercy toward others and offer openly the gifts and talents that have been given to you.
Let us read it this way: “Blessed are your works of mercy as a result of Me being in you for you shall receive mercy”
6: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
God, who are the pure in Heart? 1st John 3:3 says: And everyone who thus hope in Him purifies himself as He is pure. In other words, when we are baptized in Christ, we are a new creature. We have to surrender to His will and this will make us pure.
A contrast we see in 2nd Timothy 2:2 which says: So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. These youthful passions could be not just a passion for sex but idolatry or anything that takes away our focus from Christ. These are youthful in nature as they come from Christian immaturity.
Let us read it this way: “Blessed are you when Christ is your only Master and your actions truly reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit for you shall see God.”
7: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.
Peacemakers! This is an attribute that is so much needed at this time in our world, in our country. Who is the peacemaker? Who are we looking to have peace with? Was Jesus a peace maker? Did He just accept everything in the name of peace? What did He stand for? Was it for the poor? The hungry? The widow? the rich? The social injustices of the world?
He stood for the reconciliation of man toward God! Nothing was bigger than His stance on God’s kingdom and His plan for salvation. As a matter of fact, everything in this earth seems to have as a main purpose. The leading of us to God or away from God.
His main focus has been the Gospel and how it relates to our freedom from sin. The question we have to ask is: Am I a channel of peace or division? Are my intentions to build God’s kingdom or am I pointing people away from God? Are my actions building His kingdom or breaking it down?
We can definitely find scriptures that support causes we stand for but when we look at the whole purpose of the scripture, The message of the Gospel is not the delivery from our struggles, poverty, sickness etc. It is God’s grace and our delivery from sin. This is not the prosperity gospel, the good works gospel, the law and rituals gospel or the acceptance gospel. This is the Gospel of grace and redemption not because we are good or deserve anything but because He loves us!
Let us read it this way: ” Blessed are those who take on Jesus and help reconcile the world to God”
When we are unclear as to what causes we are to stand for, we have to remember that the ten commandments were never abolished. They are still God’s priority and we will respond for our failure to obey them. Jesus said:” I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it” Can we say, well, Jesus paid for them so therefore I can kill, I can lie, I can commit adultery? I am saved. If knowing God’s commandments and what Jesus stood for, we execute these, we really have to ask, have I really taken on Christ gift of salvation in my life?
We also have to love by preaching the gospel as it is, as Jesus taught us. Otherwise, is it our purpose to fill our churches or to point people to God? Agree that we have to preach it in love but accepting people and their sin does not mean we have to participate in it. We don’t have to perform it in our churches, schools or in our homes. We have to separate ourselves from such practices and at all possible prevent them from becoming our new norm.
Will our acceptance of these practices in the name of love confuse future generations and tinge the integrity of the gospel? What practices are we participating in that will obscure Jesus’s message?
8: Blessed are those who are being persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Righteousness. What is righteousness in these days? The world gives us their definition of this word but are we to look at the world for the answer or Jesus? Who are we agreeing with and are in compliance with? That should give us a clue as to where that definition is coming from for us.
Are our ideas popular or unpopular with the world? Am I being persecuted over them? If I am not, may be is time to re-evaluate Lessons from Jesus. I pray we don’t take this lightly. It is our salvation and that of our children, our family and our neighbors. May be we have found ourselves in the persecutor’s land.
Let us read it this way: “Blessed are you when because of me are not accepted in the popular crowd and you are being attacked over it. You will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.
9: This one is almost a repeat of the previous one as if to say, pay attention! Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Again, this is not the love and acceptance gospel for if it was, who would persecute you right? We would not have to worry for everyone’s ways and ideas would be accepted. The true message, carries the same end that Jesus experienced because He did not fit the mold of the time. He did not accept it and remain passive for the sake of love. He was crucified for He stood on the beatitudes. The message of Salvation! The true love! That message is not the popular message of our time either. It stands for change and as we stand for it, we are hated!