Thoughts on the BEATITUDES – Matthew 5:1-11

Matt 5:1-11 Blessed are….

Matthew 5-7 is known as the sermon on the mount.

Speaker: Jesus

Primary Audience: Jesus’ disciples

Matthew 5:1–12 (NKJV) – The Beatitutes

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
 3   “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
   For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  4   Blessed are those who mourn,
   For they shall be comforted.
  5   Blessed are the meek,
   For they shall inherit the earth.
  6   Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   For they shall be filled.
  7   Blessed are the merciful,
   For they shall obtain mercy.
  8   Blessed are the pure in heart,
   For they shall see God.
  9   Blessed are the peacemakers,
   For they shall be called sons of God.
  10   Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
   For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (The New King James Version)

All of these expressions from Jesus about people being blessed can only really be true of those who know, are known by, cleansed by Jesus Christ.

There seems to be a progression in these words of Jesus.

The poor in spirit see the poorness of who they are in and of themselves. In truth, mankind are naturally blind to their poorness, thinking they are rich when they are not. Those who know the truth of their poorness have at least begun to have their eyes opened to the truth and, whether they realize it or not, they have entered the kingdom of heaven. Jesus, when He walked on earth, said, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17, 10:7, Mar 1:15) The Kingdom of heaven has always existed. God is King. The blessing is that theirs IS the kingdom of heaven. In the Greek, the verb “is” is in the present tense, with active and indicative voices, making the statement (indicative) they are in the kingdom now in the present. The kingdom of heaven (this phrase completes the subject, the mourners) is actively happening to them. This is not some future event they need to wait for.

Beginning with a sense of how poor they really are, they are not content with this, but mourn the facts about where they have come from and about how attached to the kingdom of this world they still are. There is special blessing for those who mourn but, unlike the blessing of being in the kingdom, this blessing is yet to come. In the Greek, the verb “shall be comforted” is future tense, with passive and indicative voices, making the statement (indicative) that the comfort in the future will happen to (passive) the mourner. Now they mourn over sin, but a day is certainly coming when they will be comforted.

Being in the kingdom, and beginning to understand and mourn ones sinfulness, is associated with a change of attitude toward other people, to that of meekness. This is a change in attitude leading to action. Realizing they are not in the kingdom because of some self goodness or greatness, they begin to realize that in the eyes of God they are, in and of themselves, no better then the worse of sinners. A new compassion toward others blossoms, meekly placing the needs of others as of greater importance than their own. This too has a special blessing, an inheritance, and again this blessing is yet to come. In the Greek, the verb “shall inherit” is again in the future tense, with an indicative voice, but rather than a passive voice, like the comfort for those who mourn, the voice is active. The statement is made (indicative) the meek will actively inherit the earth. Rather than “the inheriting the earth” passively happening to them, they go forward in meekness, their meekness, is used by God to actively bring on the inheritance of the earth. Is not a meek person somehow attractive even to those who still belong in the kingdoms of this earth?

Having turned from the kingdoms of this word, having received the blessing of entrance into the kingdom of heaven, seeing how poor they were as subjects of the king of darkness, mourning sin and their sin, promised they will in due time receive the blessing of true comfort, having begun to live out meekness rather than self pride, beginning to actively pursue the inheritance of the earth, of those yet in darkness, they experience hunger and thirst for righteousness. It is fine to be meek and to to not see oneself as better than others, but more is needed, righteousness is needed. Those of the kingdom of heaven hunger and thirst for it. With this too comes blessing. In the Greek, “hunger” and “thirst” are present tense, active voice, normative verbs. This hungering and thirsting is not something we look forward to at some point. Like being in the kingdom, it is present tense. It happens now and those in the kingdom of God are actively involved in it. It is normative, part of God’s way, part of God’s law. Part of our created drive leads us, when we are hungry or thirsty, to do something about it. Lacking in righteousness we hunger and thirst for it. The blessing is like that of comfort. In the Greek, the verb “shall be filled” is future tense with passive and indicative voices. Active involvement in hungering and thirsting for righteousness will, as stated (indicative), result in, over time, being filled with righteousness.

The result of being in the kingdom of God overflows. Sin is mourned, active meekness is born, an active pursuit to satisfy ones hunger and thirst for righteousness develops and a need for mercy is appreciated. One’s desire for retribution when one feels wronged is given over to an attitude of mercy. Those who know something of their sin and something of the holiness of God, know obtaining righteousness is not enough. Something has to be done to satisfy God’s holy wrath against sin. They need mercy. Knowing something of the need for mercy leads one to extend mercy to others. Being merciful to others comes with blessing. Mercy will come. In the Greek, like with the blessing of comfort, and being filled with righteousness, the verb “shall obtain” is in the future tense, with passive and indicative voices. As stated (indicative) mercy will be extended to them.

Having entered into the kingdom of heaven, mourning sin, growing in meekness, actively desiring righteousness, learning mercy, promised and receiving blessing of comfort, blessing of sharing the kingdom with others, the promise of righteousness, and experiencing something of mercy, allows one to experience something of pureness of heart. The idea of such pureness, a pureness which allows one into the presence of, to see, God is likely not a present thought when one is admitted into the kingdom and sees something of their poorness of spirit. But there is truly a pureness of heart which comes to those in the kingdom of God. The blessing is interesting. In the Greek, the verb “shall see” is future tense, with middle and indicative voices. So far all of the mentioned blessing are future tense, other than that of being in the kingdom, which is present tense. For those in the kingdom there is more blessing to come. The indicative voice of all to the verbs delivers this blessing as a statement of fact! The blessing of comfort, of being filled with righteousness, and of mercy, have passive voices. These blessing will happen and be experienced. The blessing of inheritance for the meek has an active voice. There is participation needed to overcome the world. It is not something just experienced. Interestingly, those who have the experience of sharing the truth of the kingdom of God with the world usually find this a joyful experience. Now, with the pureness of heart, the “seeing” in the blessing of “seeing God” has the middle voice. Passive voice indicates the action happens to. Active voice indicates an action participated in. The middle voice is both. The seeing of God both happens to the pure in heart and it is, also, participated in. In order to see something it needs to be before our eyes or we need to be in view of it BUT we also need to open our eyes and look. As such, this blessing is a most amazing blessing for we learn in the OT no one can see God and live. Moses had to be hidden in the cleft of the rock and let God pass by rather than see God. Yet, here it is. A day will come when, as stated (indicative voice), “they shall see God” as participants and live!

The next blessing moves on to an amazing part of being in the kingdom of God. Such blessing was touched on when looking at meekness and being merciful. Meekness is something participated in and impacts others, drawing others to God. Yet, all of these blessings impact the one who has entered into the kingdom of God. As seen with meekness and even with mercy, the kingdom of God cannot be contained in a person. It flows out of a person. Realizing this makes sense of the next blessing in the progression. Blessed are the peacemakers. Why would peacemakers come after a realization of pureness of heart? It is precisely because the kingdom of God cannot be contained in a person and always flows out, that blessing for peacemakers makes sense. In john 14:12, Jesus says a most amazing thing, ““Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (NKJV) As members of the kingdom of God, we will begin to do the work of God here on earth. The resulting blessing, being called sons of God, in the Greek, has a future tense, with passive and indicative voices. Being called sons of God will happen. It is not something one does to himself. It is a title received from God. Just think. You who are in the kingdom, you will do the work of God, bringing peace on earth, and will be called sons of God.

The story of blessing is not complete without the last mentioned blessing, which is blessing for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. In the Greek, “are persecuted” has a present perfect tense with a passive voice and “revile” and “persecute” have aorist tense with active voices. Both the perfect and aorist tense have the sense that persecution, has happened, happens and will happen. The persecution is something some people actively do and will happen to those of the kingdom of God. In the Greek, the verb “is” in “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is present tense, with active an indicative voices. This is the same as with the blessing for those who are poor in spirit and is the same blessing. Throughout these blessings, the overall blessing, the blessing of the kingdom of heaven we have now. We do not need to wait for it. We have now and will continue to have the kingdom of Heaven. And there is great reward to come in heaven including, comfort, being filled with righteousness, and the ongoing extending of mercy. The great reward will include all those of the earth who God impacts with your meekness, who also entered the kingdom of heaven. The greatest blessing will include being in the presence of and seeing God as His sons. This, in many ways ,is beyond our comprehension.

he truth of this blessing comes from the mouth of Jesus to His disciples. (Matthew 5:1-2) He is the one who can assure us of this blessing. How can He with certainty make these statements of blessing? Some of us know the answer. Given the wonder of these blessings, those who do not know how Jesus can say these things should seek the answer. Jesus has also said, “Seek and you will find” and “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” In Jesus …..

(I think the following verses, Matthew 5:13-6 are integrally connected to these verses of blessing. In time thoughts may be added to reflect this.)

Note: I am not a Greek scholar. The tenses in the Greek have been obtained by using bible study tools which provided the parsing of the verbs in Greek.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.