Religion has always been portrayed as set of rules, standards or rituals that must be performed or maintained in order to be right before God. They establish the minimum requirements necessary to receive blessings, life and happiness from God (or gods depending on your culture). Some religions can be quite hard and demanding with little or not flexibility or grace. While others are quite soft and mushy with few expectations, accountability or aspirations. It is into this strange mix of hope and fear that Jesus shares this one of a kind sermon for all ages and all generations!
What are the Beatitudes?
In the Gospel of Matthew, the Beatitudes stand as an introduction to Jesus’ mission and ministry. They stand in stark contrast to the 10 Commandments and the “thou shalt not…” standards.
Jesus Christ taught His gospel and outlined how to be a righteous disciple in a powerful sermon called the Sermon on the Mount. In it, He also gave eight important teachings called the Beatitudes. The word beatitude means “supreme blessedness” or “exalted happiness.” This does not mean, however, that everything is going your way, or that life is smooth sailing! ‘Blessed’ in this context, means close to the heart of God. The Beatitudes highlight the amazing promised blessings that come when we develop certain righteous attitudes and aspirations.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
To be poor in spirit is to be humble and teachable. Jesus wants us always to humbly acknowledge our need for Him.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
We will face challenges and problems that will test us. As we mourn our losses or trials, we are promised that we will be blessed as we endure. God will send His Holy Spirit to comfort us in times of need.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
To be meek is to be gentle, kind, patient, and tolerant—not proud, mighty, or conceited. The Savior showed His meekness by being willing to submit to the will of God. Even in a moment of extreme agony, He said to God, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
We can come closer to God as we try to follow His teachings and learn more about Him. The more knowledge we seek, the more He’ll bless us with.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Jesus Christ was a perfect example of showing forgiveness and mercy. Even when he was suffering on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Since we all need mercy, we all must show mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
God will make himself known unto us if we are pure in heart. If we earnestly strive to be like God, our motives and actions will be honorable and our hearts will be pure.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Another name Jesus has is the “Prince of Peace.” Jesus encourages us to follow His example by loving everyone so we can live together in peace.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We may face from criticism society or other groups for the way we live, the things we believe in, and the things we do. Proudly stand up for the principles of God and His Church. God will bless you for it in both this life and the next.