Matthew 5:1-12 ESV
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Last year, I preached a couple of messages drawn from Matthew 5:1-12, which is commonly called The Beatitudes. This section of scripture marks the beginning of The Sermon on the Mount, the greatest sermon ever preached. For a while, I have had the thought that it might be helpful to ‘blog’ through these verses. So, today I will give a brief introduction to The Beatitudes and then in the weeks and months to come, we will look at them individually.
Introduction to the Beatitudes
The Sermon on the Mount begins with one of the most well-known passages of Scripture – The Beatitudes. In this opening section, Jesus gives the keys to a happy life. He tells the crowd the secrets to true and lasting happiness.
The word ‘blessed’ can also be translated ‘happy’ and is used 9 times in The Beatitudes. This word does not refer to a fleeting happiness or a warm fuzzy feeling. In this passage, ‘blessed’ refers to a deep-rooted spiritual peace that only comes when ones divinely receives saving faith. A study of The Beatitudes will ultimately reveal a portrait of what saving faith looks like in the life of an individual. The Beatitudes reveal the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only thing in this world that can provide true and lasting happiness.
While it appears that there are 9 Beatitudes, verses 10 & 11 are often grouped together, leaving us with 8 different Beatitudes. The first four focus on inner character traits: poor in spirit, mourn, meek, and hunger and thirst for righteousness. The last four focus on external character traits: merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted.
“The first four may be regarded as describing the initial exercises of heart in one who has been awakened by the Spirit, whereas the next four treat of the subsequent fruits.” – A.W. Pink (An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 29)
As I studied this passage of scripture, the thing that struck me was the progression of the Beatitudes. Each one builds towards the next one and grows out of the previous one. In this series we will see that one who is poor in spirit will mourn over their sin. They will become meek and submissive which will lead to a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Other Posts in this series: