Matthew 5:2-12 English Standard Version (ESV)
2 And he opened his mouth and taught 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 meek, 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 are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
In his Sermon on the Mount, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus revealed eight blessings to the crowd that had gathered to see him. John the Baptist had been arrested and Jesus had begun his earthly ministry preaching and teaching throughout all of Galilee, calling his disciples, healing the sick, exorcising demons, and calling people to repentance.
What are Beatitudes? Gregory of Nyssa, a mystic residing in Cappadocia in Asia Minor around 380 AD described the Beatitudes like this:
“Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good,
from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want.
Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us
if it is compared with its opposite.
Now the opposite of beatitude is misery.
Misery means being afflicted unwillingly with painful sufferings.”
In contrast to the Law handed down to Moses by God on Mount Sinai, the Beatitudes celebrate humility, charity, and love. The Law directs us with “Thou shalt not”. The Beatitudes guide us toward finding peace amidst a lifetime of turmoil and trouble. In the opening refrain of his sermon, Jesus reassured the crowd with lessons of comfort and hope during a time that the nation of Israel suffered under the occupation of Rome.
The Law points us to God. The Beatitudes usher us into His presence.
Yes, life is difficult. Life was hard during the time of the First Advent. It remains challenging as we await Christ’s return. Jesus’ message today, as it did then, heartens us on our spiritual journey, reminding us that He is the anchor of our hope through whom we can love and do good, living life abundantly while waiting on His return.
Go be a blessing…
“Blessed Assurance” -Elevation Worship (Live)
photos courtesy of Pixabay.