The Beatitudes are a list of supreme blessings that Jesus presents to his disciples at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Each one has great significance and meaning, so much so that we could probably spend a week on each one. For this week we are going to focus on the first 7, and next week we will discuss the last portion of this section, which may be one of the most difficult to live out.
Read Matthew 5:1-9. Look over these blessings slowly and try to figure out what each one means to you. I would challenge you to focus on one of these each week. Here is a brief description that I have put together, with the help of Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, about each of the Beatitudes, excluding the last one, which will be discussed next week.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven– To be poor in spirit means to humble yourself, to recognize that you are in need of God’s grace. Once you can truly be humble and see your need for grace, then you will be able to deepen your relationship with God. If you don’t recognize this spiritual poverty, if you are proud, you may start lost sight of who God truly is, allowing yourself to take his place.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted-Once we humble ourselves and allow God’s grace to enter in, it is then that we begin to mourn the sin in our lives. The more light comes in the more darkness is revealed. When we mourn these things we desire even more to live in the presence of God. It is here that we receive comfort from God.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth-Meekness follows humility. Once you humble yourself then you are on the path to becoming a meek person. Meekness does not equal weakness. It is the meek people who will bring change to the world. Those who rule with greed and selfish power will always fall.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled-Disciples of Christ will always hunger and thirst for righteousness, or justice, on this earth. They will not find satisfaction anywhere in the world, but only through Christ. The promise of Christ, the ultimate gift, will one day completely satisfy our desire, our hunger, for justice.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy-If you show mercy to another you will receive God’s mercy. Look at Matthew 25:31-46 for a better understanding of this statement.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God-If you are pure in heart, meaning you are living not for yourself, but for God’s glory, then you will begin to see God. You will begin to recognize his presence in this world. You will see that he is in fact moving among us, using people and experiences to shape us.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God-By brining peace to the world, which means loving your enemies and imitating God’s love, you will be a child of God. Once you start living like this the image of God will be seen in you. This is ultimately what we want as disciples of Christ.
There is a lot to reflect on in these first few verses of the Sermon on the Mount. Over this next week try to daily study one of the Beatitudes, and try to apply it to your life. It would be good to memorize these and consistently ask yourself if you are living in this way or not. It will not be easy, but it will transform you in incredible ways.