April 24, 2022
I want to start by apologizing for not posting last week. It was a crazy week. I pray you had a wonderful time celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.
This week we read Matthew 1-9. Before we get into the actual reading, let’s talk about the author Matthew. He was the tax collector turned disciple that we read and talked about in Luke 5:27-39. He was the one despised by others, to whom Jesus said, “follow me.” Matthew dropped everything and followed Jesus. His name was Levi, but Jesus changed his name to Matthew, meaning “gift of God.”
The topic we are going to discuss this week is called the Beatitudes. They are found in Matthew 5:3-12. A Beatitude is “an exclamation of the inner joy and peace that comes with being right with God. Happiness may indeed be a part of it, but it is a happiness that transcends what happens in the world around us, a happiness that comes to the soul from being favored by God.” (Dr. Allen Ross).
There are eight Beatitudes which are virtues or characteristics of how we are to live as a Christian. We don’t adhere to them to earn our way into heaven. We follow them as a result of our being loved by God and the appreciation we have for his sacrifice on the cross for us.
Each statement begins with “Blessed.” This is more than just being happy in the moment. John MacArthur states, “To be blessed isn’t a superficial feeling of well-being based on circumstances, but a deep supernatural experience of contentedness based on the fact that one’s life is right with God.”
Max Lucado states, “The eight blessed characteristics proved a mental picture of the process throughout which God leads every believer as we experience new life in Christ.”
When you look at the eight “blessed” statements in Matthew, you can see that the first four deal with our relationship with God and the last four deal with our relationship with others.
You also have to read them as stepping stones. The first leads to the second, which leads to the third, etc.
Let’s look at four statements this week and then four next week.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor is to be in need and without. Poor in spirit means to be spiritually destitute. We realize our own helplessness spiritually, and rely completely on God. We are spiritually broke and need God completely. There is a great example of this in Luke 18:9-14. “9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This comes after we see that we are poor in spirit because we see our sin and mourn. The Greek word for mourn is “pantheo.” This type of mourning is the deepest grief you can experience. This mourning of our sin leads to repentance. Psalm 51 is a great example of this type of mourning. David has sinned with Bathsheba and Nathan came to David about this. David was mourning because of his sin and wrote this Psalm asking God to forgive him. Psalm 51:1-4 states, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.” David shows true mourning for the sin he committed against God.
The ending of this blessed statement is “they will be comforted.” This was also from Isaiah 61:2 when he was prophesying about Jesus, and he will, “comfort all who mourn.”
Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Here, Jesus is quoting David from Psalm 37:11 where he said, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”
Some people think that meekness is weakness. That is not so. The type of meekness the Bible talks about is strength that is under control. It is a life under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Some call meekness humility, gentleness, or humbleness. Matthew 11:28-30 shows how Jesus is meek, “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Meekness is also a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”
“…will inherit the earth.” This means that they will inherit the earth when Christ comes back to reign as king.
Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” When we were in the book of Romans, we discussed the definition of righteousness. I have copied that here as it is a great reminder.
In Romans 1:17 Paul states that in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness by faith. What does “righteousness” mean? According to Ladd (1976), “Righteousness is the norm or standard which God has decreed for human conduct. The righteous man is he who in God’s judgment meets the divine standard, and thus is declared to stand in a right relationship with God.” God’s righteousness is also contrasted with man’s righteousness. Romans 10:3 states, “Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”
What we learned through the book of Romans is that no person can meet God’s standard. Romans 3:10 states, “There is no one righteous, not even on.” Even though no one is righteous, God gave us hope. God made a way for us to be in a right relationship and that is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Thus, those that hunger and thirst for righteousness know that they have sinned, they mourn that sin, are humble and meek before God and man, and hunger for true righteousness, which can only be obtained through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
These are the first four “Blessed” statements in the Beatitudes. They all deal with our relationship with God.
Are you blessed in the way Jesus describes?
Are you poor in spirit and see your need for Christ because of the sin in your life?
Are you mourning your sin?
Are you meek/humble and asking forgiveness for your sin?
Are you thirsty and hungry for righteousness or for other worldly things?
Next week we will finish with the last four Beattitudes. There will be no further reading until we are finished with these. Have a great week.