The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes: Matthew 5:3-12, Luke 6:20-26

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One Reply to “The Beatitudes”

  1. I’ve heard many sermons based on The Beatitudes, even studied as part of our small group in Colorado (circa 1999), but they always amaze me like a familiar song that brings to mind a wonderful sense and awe of God. We all have our favorites, this is one that is attached to good memories. There are so many resources to draw upon for understanding this powerful portion of the Sermon on the Mount. An Amazon search on the subject reveals a number of books devoted specifically to the topic, so I’m not about to try and cover all eight of these powerful statements in full, just making some observations that speak to me this morning.

    It’s interesting to compare Luke’s shorter version with Matthew’s account of Jesus’ sermon; especially verses 24-26 where Luke adds “Woe to you…” for consideration.

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” compared to “Woe to you who are rich for you have already received your comfort.” Luke’s account focuses on physical needs. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.” The sermon recorded in the Gospels is no doubt an amalgamation of many sermons Jesus provided to the disciples and those crowds that gathered. We re reminded often to care the for poor, the needy, those who have little. Matthew’s account is much more inclusive because even the richest of people can be poor in spirit, can be downcast or depressed. Both matter to Christ. Both should matter to us.

    • “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
    • “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:21b)

    To mourn is deeper in my mind, beyond weeping, so again, I think there are two groups being addressed here as well. Mourners will be comforted while someone who is crying will laugh. It’s interesting to me that Christians are often cast as these down-trodden, sullen people who walk around with rules and looks of judgment on their faces, rather than people who laugh and smile. Those who don’t know Christ and those who do all laugh, all cry–we’re all human! Everyone can identify with these verses, whether mourning or weeping, but not everyone will be ultimately comforted, not everyone will laugh.

    Psalm 37:10-11 may be the reference for the next beatitude:

    • A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.

    The meek, those who are humble before God. How else can one be when compared to God? Who can stand proud before the Lord? That is epitome of foolishness.

    • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
    • Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. (Luke 6:21a)

    Again we see both thoughts being addressed here: Matthew is inclusive while Luke focuses on physical needs. Both are important to consider.

    • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

    If we can keep in mind God’s eternal perspective, mercy is easy. It’s when I focus on my wants and needs that mercy becomes a challenge.

    • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
    • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

    This is a lofty goal at best! “Change my heart O God, make it ever clean, may I be like you.” Words from an old praise song based on Psalm 51 (David’s confession). There is only one way to a pure heart: commit to Christ. Total commitment is the only way.

    • Blessed are those who are persecuted… (Matthew 5:10-12, Luke 6:22-23)

    With the news media clamoring about the Islamic State and the public persecution of Christians, these words are more than just distant thoughts. The Voice of the Martyrs has been telling the story for decades–committing to Christ may include physical punishment, even to death. We don’t typically face that in this country, but I would not get too comfortable with that thought.


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