BLESSED ARE THEY THAT…
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of truths designed to prepare the followers of Jesus for the Kingdom of God, which involves a lifestyle radically different from the world’s lifestyle.
The word “blessed” usually means happy, but in Jesus’ sermon blessed indicates an enviable state. After a person has acquired good fortune they are referred to as blessed, according to the world’s characteristics of blessed. But, Jesus calls some people blessed who appear to be the opposite. People who mourn don’t appear to be blessed, but in contrast Jesus is speaking of “spiritual prosperity” and not the world’s idea of happiness.
“Our Savior gives eight characters of blessed people, which represents to us the principle graces of a Christian. The poor in spirit, those that mourn, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the pure in heart, the peace makers, and those who are persecuted are happy. While the world calls the proud happy, gays are admired, and the rich are referred to as powerful. In actuality, the true meaning of happiness is found only in the life of Christ.” -Matthew Henry
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, (v. 3)
The point of riches separating us from God is a fact, but in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is not speaking of being financially poor. Jesus is not advocating poverty; he is not stating that you must for be financially poor to become blessed.
Jesus is speaking of being “poor in spirit” as being “spiritually poor.” Jesus is concerned with the state of the spirit, not material possessions. To be poor in spirit is to recognize your utter spiritual bankruptcy before God. It is understanding that you have absolutely nothing of worth to offer God. Being poor in spirit is admitting that, because of your sins, you are completely destitute spiritually and can do nothing to deliver yourself from your dire situation. Jesus is saying regardless of your status in life, you must recognize your spiritual poverty before you can come to God in faith to receive the salvation He offers.
The kingdom of heaven essentially refers to salvation. The kingdom of heaven refers to eternity in heaven with God after death (Rom. 6:23), and the eternal quality of life with God before death (John 10:10). God offers us salvation as a gift, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, the full payment for sins penalty. Before we can receive this gift, we must understand that we cannot make ourselves worthy of it. Salvation is by grace through faith and not of works (Eph. 2:8-9). We must recognize our sinfulness before we can understand our need for a Savior. We must admit our spiritual poverty before we can receive the spiritual riches that God offers (Eph. 1:3).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is declaring, before we can enter God’s Kingdom we must recognize the utter worthlessness of our own spiritual currency and the inability of our own works to save us.
- Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, (v. 4).
The term “mourn” means to experience deep grief. Jesus is indicating that mourning is due to grief over sin. The work of the Holy Spirit is to comfort those who mourn. He comforts those who are honest about their sins and are humble enough to ask for forgiveness and healing. Repentance results in forgiveness and cleansing (Ps. 30:5). Those who learn to mourn over their sins find the heart of God, and enter into a loving Father and child relationship with Him. This is the foundation of true happiness.
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth, (v. 5).
The words “meek” can be translated as humble. Meekness is inward grace of the soul. It bear insults, is silent, or returns a soft answer. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety. Meekness quietly submits to God, and does not fight against Him. Meekness patiently wait, trusting His timing. His power and His grace to work out for our good, (Rom. 8:28). The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant prosperity, (Ps. 37:4, 11).
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled, (v. 6).
Righteousness here refer to the sinners justification before God. As hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, our Lord plainly means, those whose deepest cravings are after spiritual blessings. They shall be saturated. God gives according to the need. It’s the principle of supply and demand. God has endless provisions, He never runs out. Those who hunger and thirst have a want and an earnest desire to possess it. If we seek the face of God, He pours out His blessings on us. The benefits are fulfillment and satisfaction of heart, soul, and spirit. They shall be fulfilled completely.