Free Bible Commentary
“Matthew 5:1-20”Categories: 50 Days with Jesus
“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach 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 gentle, 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 have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
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Wow! The beatitudes! The greatest introduction to the greatest sermon ever preached! From the start of “the Sermon on the Mount” Jesus sets forth the core of Christian character and the qualities of the kind of heart that pleases God. The person who possesses these eight “beautiful attitudes” will find God’s favor and receive His richest spiritual blessings. The word “blessed” is often translated “happy”, but there is no one English word that captures the essence of this Greek word “markarios”. Maybe it’s a combination of happiness, joy, contentment; the richness of a life that is lived to the fullest spiritual measure.
As I read verses 3-12 I can’t help but notice the sharp contrast that should exist between the worldview of a Christian and that of a non-Christian. All the things that Jesus says will make His followers “blessed” or “happy” do not comprise the kind of mindset that the carnally minded people of the world will see as desirable. No model for worldly success is going to include poverty, sorrow, meekness, purity. But Jesus says that these qualities, taken in the right context, will make you truly happy. Notice as we examine these blessed traits that happiness doesn’t necessarily come from what we do but from who we “are”. Only the thoughts, words and actions that proceed from a heart refined by God’s graces will produce blessedness.
Verse 3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit” – Spiritual poverty is the passport into “the kingdom of heaven”. God can do marvelous things with a person who recognizes that he is spiritually destitute and totally dependent upon Him for redemption, sanctification and salvation. David wrote in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Please read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).
Verse 4 – “Blessed are those who mourn” – It is not by accident that this beatitude follows the first. The person who recognizes his own spiritual poverty will be grieved to the heart because of it. Only the person whose heart is broken from his own sinfulness can truly “be comforted” by God’s saving grace (Psalm 51:12). “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Verse 5 – “Blessed are the gentle” – Please do not confuse “meekness” with “weakness”. Jesus was “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29), and yet He possessed all the power of God Almighty. Meek people exercise the power to control themselves in the face of provocation, and they leave place for the wrath of God (Romans 12:19).
Heaven’s happiness can be found when we crave righteousness, show mercy, procure purity and pursue peace (verses 6-9). Even when we are insulted and persecuted for the sake of righteousness, we can rejoice in the knowledge that our “reward is in heaven” (verses 10-12). When we sustain this spiritual transformation God can use us as His shining lights in the world (verse 16).
Please read Matthew 5:21-48 for tomorrow – Sermon on the Mount – Relationships.
Have a great day!