The Beatitudes Explained ~ Jesus Teaching on the Mount
There are many who need the Beatitudes explained to them for a lack of reading material, spiritual discernment, and possibly a lack of being taught the correct doctrines of the bible.
We will begin by saying that, we need some understanding of some of the words used in the beatitudes beyond what our culture sheds on them. Many of the Hebrew and Greek words had an entire thought pattern and picture associated with it rather than just a single meaning.
When we look at the word “Blessed”, this is one of those words that really is not understood in the current form of happy as it is translated so many times. Happy can be associated with a temporary or worldly, earthly association.
Jesus was teaching Kingdom characteristics here and it has nothing to do with earthly feelings or emotions. Sure, we have emotions when we read or hear the beatitudes taught but that is a part of our creative being. God made us in that way.
What we know and trust and what we feel are sometimes worlds apart. When it comes to our understanding the bible, many rely on feelings, while those who accept the truth of God’s word will rely on its teachings rather than feelings that are so many times associated with our circumstances.
So, the word “Blessed” as it carries its meaning in the time of Jesus teaching goes beyond just having a happy feeling or emotion. It involves a confidence, an inner assurance of something beyond what the world offers. It does not rely on earthly conditions or circumstances to bring it happiness.
This is an inner joy that springs from a deep-seated truth that God is our joy, our hope, our salvation, that we are truly accepted in Him when we display these truths or beatitudes.
Our “blessedness” depends on a heavenly source that is eternal in all of its ways and we trust to have our best interest at heart rather than a worldly or earthly source that can change at any moment!
To be truly “blessed”, you have to come to a point of submitting yourself to Kingdom teaching and character. This brings the assurance of peace, joy, hope, faith, etc. Kingdom characteristics.
This is a continual inner joy that the circumstances of this world can never take from you!
In Matthew 5:1-12 Jesus gives a dialog of what a blessed person is and looks like. It is a teaching of the characteristics of kingdom living from the King Himself.
Matthew 5: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
As we look at the term poor here we need to get a better understanding beyond just being broke and without worldly possessions.
Let’s look at Isaiah 61: 1-3 (AMP)
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2. to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
3. and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Although it can be a part of it, when we look at the poor here it certainly has a greater and more significant meaning that not having or possessing worldly goods.
Remember, in Luke 4, Jesus read this scripture and told the people that, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Jesus said He had come to proclaim the good news to the poor.
Who are the poor then? In the Old Testament when Israel had been taken into captivity and made slaves, they became poor in worldly goods and possessions but even more, they became poor in spirit or lacking joy, hope, peace, faith, etc.
Their inner peace had been taken from them. Their joy had been removed far from them. Their hope had been taken away from them. They had lost faith because of their circumstances! They had become poor in spirit and were in great distress because of it.
This is the poor Jesus was referring to, those who had loss or hope, joy, peace, faith, Jesus came to restore these things to Gods’ people and the earth.
Recall when the Angels announced the coming of Jesus the first time to the shepherds who were abiding in the field? They said,
Luke 2: 9-11
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
The Angel said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”.
This is the spiritual aspect of the gospel. Jesus came to bring a joy that is contained within because of the kingdom within! He came to bring good tidings to the poor in spirit so they could be filled with the spirit!
Until the day of Pentecost, no one had ever had the spirit upon and within them continually. Under the Old Testament Covenant, the spirit came and went as He was needed to perform certain tasks or give specific messages to Israel.
The people had to wait to hear from the Priest as they were only anointed of God. The people could not approach God except through the offerings of the Priest.
The nation of Israel’s people was truly poor in spirit as they were lacking the ability to approach the throne of God for themselves and their own needs and families.
Jesus made this possible as our Great high priest when he entered into the Holy of Holies and made the ultimate sacrifice of Himself! (Hebrews 9) This reconciled us with God as was His plan from the beginning.
The poor is spirit had now become rich toward God in that they have received the Kingdom of God!
Paul mentions the unsearchable riches of His grace. How wonderful that we who were poor in spirit could be filled with all the fullness of the riches of His grace!
Riches in the Greek comes from the root word, “pimplēmi” meaning: accomplish, full (…come), furnish. He has truly come and furnished us with all our needs that we may have the riches of His kingdom!
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! (The riches of His grace through Jesus)
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
To understand this verse we need to understand “mourn”. The root word for this is “pentheō”, meaning: godly sorrow.
As we look into Godly sorrow, the scripture teaches “For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Cor 7:10). Those who seek the Lord with Godly sorrow will find Him!
The scripture teaches us, Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
This is a Godly sorrow that works repentance unto salvation that the scripture in 2 Cor speaks about. This teaches us that those who have a Godly sorrow will be comforted! In the future, they will also find comfort in the kingdom!
In Isaiah 61: 1-3 we see that the prophet speaks of Jesus, v2, “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,”
This is not indicating the earthly morning we experience when we have problems such as death, loss of property, anxiety over a failed business, etc. This type of sorrow works death.
This is speaking of the people of God being comforted in spirit when they mourn. When the people repented from the sorrow their sins caused them. As Jesus was teaching He was letting His disciples know they would be comforted.
Jesus had told them the kingdom of God had come to them and He had gone about healing and cleansing people. This should have created a reaction of repentance in the leaders but instead they rejected Him because of fear and jealousy.
We as Christians mourn over this world that has lost its direction and quickly losing its morals. There is very little virtue left in this present society. It is everyone for themselves!
We look forward to the resurrection or second coming of Jesus when all of our mourning and sorrow will be done away with. We know that in death we will have the final victory!
The mourning that will be comforted is the mourning of the called, the sons of God, those who understand the purpose of mourning. Mourning over sin is a character of the kingdom person.
May we ever mourn over the sin and condition of the world and the errant sins of our lives to repent unto God for forgiveness. We shall be comforted when we do so!
Matthew 5:5. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
This word “meek” has the meaning of gentleness of spirit, self-control. Those who have honed their emotions and submitted their nature to the Holy Spirit like the refiners fire.
Just because of this nature it does not mean they are weak or beggarly people. This meekness comes with power as a virtue of Christ Himself. There was nothing lacking in the power of Christ, yet He was the meekest of us all.
Moses was described as being the meekest of all men on the earth. (Numbers 12:3). Jesus described Himself as being “meek and lowly”(Mat 11:28-29) We find neither of these people weak or powerless but in both, we see the power of God in its grandest forms!
Meekness means we use the power of Christ in us to help others and advance their hopes and needs, it causes us to look to others needs beyond our own. This is so contrary of the world system.
To be meek allows us to know who we are in Christ Jesus and the power of His resurrection and yet not assert this power for our own glory. (Romans 12:3)
Let’s visit the Psalms 37: 1-11 and we will see the writer giving instruction on wickedness, “Do not fret because of the wicked,” and ends with, “the meek shall inherit the land.”
Jesus has promised a new heaven and a new earth where there will only be righteousness dwelling within. John saw this while he was in exile on the isle of Patmos and wrote about it in the book of Revelation Chapter 21.
The second coming of Jesus will bring with it a new heaven and a new earth as the first will pass away. This is where those who have overcome by the blood of the lamb will find perfect dwelling in the presence of God!
Jesus could have possibly been talking to the Jewish people hear as in reference to the promised land. The Jewish people will inherit the land of Israel for an everlasting possession as stated in God’s word.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled
This has long been one of my favorites as I read these beatitudes. A promise to those who are hungry for the righteousness of God!
Hunger and thirst are the two most prevailing objects that drive us as people! When we hunger and thirst we will seek diligently to be filled!
The implication here is that we should seek after righteousness like we do to fill our starving bodies with food and water. We labor both day and night to be sure adequate food and drink are set before us and our children.
Those who have come to know Jesus and tasted of His righteousness cannot be filled with the desires and cravings of this world anymore. They have tasted of heavenly food and now, only this heavenly food will suffice them. So now, they search only for the manna from heaven. When we do this, we will find righteousness and be filled!
This beatitude is not describing the righteous; it is giving the state of mind they who seek righteousness are in! They are desperate for the righteousness of God in them and the world they live in!
Righteousness as mentioned here is the outflowing of a life that is centered on submitting to, worshiping, and seeking after God and confessing Jesus as the Messiah.
It is as a covenant between God and man, it has a commitment of the righteousness of Jesus as He fulfilled the righteousness of God and in turn brought this to us.
As Paul stated, 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction (Rom 3:21-22).
The righteousness of God has been imputed to us as our sins were imputed to Jesus on the cross! What a wonderful exchange! As Jesus was explaining these beatitudes his followers were no doubt in shock!
How on earth could they be righteous? They would find out sometime later when the Spirit of God came upon them and wrote the laws of God in their hearts! (Heb 10:16–17).
Matthew 5: 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
When looking back at the beatitudes we have already mentioned, the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
As we see these we understand that none of these come without the mercies of God! These come to us out of the great abundance of God’s merciful heart.
Showing mercy is an attribute of God and should be a character that those who have come to know Jesus as savior exhibit.
Merciful: eleēmōn (compassionate (by word or deed, specially by divine grace)
Even when the rights of a Christ-like person are on the line, they still show mercy. These people can truly be called blessed. Always putting the needs and concerns of others above their own.
The scripture teaches us that as we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us! Luke 6:31
Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:8)
Paul teaches here that when we show mercy, we should do it cheerfully! Not grudgingly but in a spirit of love showing compassion.
Once we have come to understand and experience God’s mercy, we are in a position to extend that to others without partiality!
The last part of this verse implies not only that we receive mercy in this life but in the life to come. “They shall obtain mercy!
Matthew 5: 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. This is a most excellent verse bringing holiness and blessedness or happiness together. Wonderful!
When we talk about being pure in heart, this goes far beyond religion and tradition. To have a pure heart is to have a heart that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus! Clean and pure.
This is where true Christianity lies, in the pure or clean heart. The scripture says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6: 45)
We display in our words and works what is in our hearts. Again, Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,” (Mark 7:21)
To have a pure heart one must commit to Jesus as Lord and begin this kingdom journey. Do all things become pure in our thoughts and minds, our will overnight?
In most cases, this does not happen but it is a process we follow. Paul encourages the believer to not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. (Rom 12: 2)
As we renew our minds in the word of God, our hearts change and our will is transformed so we become pure in our hearts toward God! This is a maturing process the bible calls a perfect condition. In these instances, perfect means mature.
Think about this statement! The pure in heart will see God! We will be among those who see God if we keep our hearts pure by His spirit. Only those who have had their hearts cleansed by the Blood of Jesus will enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 5: 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
How wonderful to be a peacemaker, to be called a son of God! Where does peace come from? Remember the announcement the angel made to the shepherds abiding in the field? “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2: 13-15)
From the beginning, God has meant to live in peace with man. He created a peaceful place and relationship with him in creation.
After the fall, man has never been able to find complete peace again until the savior purchased back the plan of God with his death, burial and resurrection.
The peacemaker is the one who promotes the kingdom of God and the atmosphere that will be there. The peacemaker goes about reconciling the lost, the confused, the wayward souls back to God! This is what peacemaking is al about! The peacemaker seeks to bring peace to any given situation by introducing the will of God in it.
Because of this, they will be called the sons of God! The very work they do introduces them to the world as God’s children. They are of their father, God and have His attributes including an inner peace that the world does not understand.
They strive to share this peace with all who will listen and hear them. They have achieved this by being born again by the spirit of God and have been brought into a proper relationship with God the Father. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 12-13)
The disciple should be spreading the message of peace to the world and working to promote this peace within the congregation. This is truly the work of our Messiah!
Matthew 5: 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
When the disciple of Jesus goes out into this fallen world promoting the kingdom message they will be met with opposition from the enemy!
One would think that a message of peace and hope toward God would be welcomed in the turmoil of this world but in reality, it is not!
The very fact that the message of Jesus is not received freely by the world shows the rebellion of a fallen world! They not only deny the savior but fight against His work in the earth.
In the verse following this one, Jesus allows His followers to see some of the persecution they will have to suffer if they follow Him. These will not be strangers to us if we follow Christ either.
In the end, Jesus wanted His followers to know that because they are persecuted they will be rewarded with the kingdom and not only the kingdom to come but the kingdom with in them now.
So, we need to understand when we accept Christ and go about to promote the blessedness of our savior by showing these attributes of meekness, mercy, righteousness, peacemakers, purity of heart, etc. We will have to endure persecution.
If the prophets, the disciples, and Jesus were persecuted for this message, we will surly be persecuted also. John the Baptist came preaching repentance and the Kingdom of God and for his message, he met an early death by being beheaded.
Jesus came preaching repentance and the kingdom of God and its’ righteousness and He was beaten, reviled and hung on a cross! This message brings persecution and if we share it wee will be partakers of His kingdom!
When these things come to pass we are instructed to rejoice, as we should know that the kingdom of heaven is ours. Your rewards will be great in the kingdom of God if you endure persecution for Jesus sake in this earth.
I can only imagine the thoughts of the people and disciples as Jesus delivered His discourse on the mount. Jesus was presenting something very foreign to them. The current system taught them all to be just the opposite of what Jesus taught.
No doubt this was a struggle for many, even some of the disciples. From time to time we see questions from the disciples that have a worldly lure to them. One such question was, who among them would be greatest in the kingdom.
Everyone struggles from time to time. We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus and His righteousness and place our faith and hope in Him! He will never leave of forsake us!
What a wonderful God we serve! A loving Father and savior who was willing to give up His life so we could live! Praise His wonderful name! Jesus!
Be Blessed my friends!