It seems reasonable for me to first think about the Beatitudes. They are Matthew 5:1-11. Beatitude is the Latin word for Blessings, and Jesus is blessing special groups of people. I know that I will be coming back to each of these verses many times this year, but I’d like to take each verse and write my thoughts. I haven’t done any research apart from looking up the meaning of the word Beatitude (and lot’s of Bible passages) yet, so all this is just me. This week I am reading and considering the Sermon on the Mount using the New International Version (2010 edition), and this is the version I will be working on memorizing the sermon in.

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The background here: Last chapter, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, began his ministry, chose from all the people who started following him 12 to be his Disciples, and began healing the sick. The crowd was sure to be huge… Jesus was curing paralysis, blindness, leprosy, expelling demons, and other incurable diseases. It is pretty understandable that people would want to follow you if you could cure things that no one has ever been cured of. I also think it’s interesting that although this crowd was following Jesus, but Matthew says that Jesus starts to teach his disciples — obviously loud enough for many people to hear.

He said: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The first thing that stands out about this verse is that Luke says it differently. Luke, the good doctor, says in Luke 6:20 that Blessed are the poor. I’m not sure about what this means. Is it the people who are spiritually poor? Is it the people who are physically poor? Is it the people who are downcast? Whoever this group is, the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. It’s a huge blessing for the King to say to his subjects that his kingdom is theirs. I think this group has a particular spot of affection in Jesus’ heart. He describes them first and calls his kingdom theirs.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Again, Luke says this verse differently. He says that weepers will laugh in Luke 6:21. I think that since Luke is a doctor, he sees the people in pain as being healed. They aren’t just comforted, but their pain is removed and so they are able to laugh. Matthew seems to be showing Jesus’ compassion for people who are hurting. I guess I sometimes feel like it’s not okay to mourn or be sad, because despite circumstances “God still loves me” and “All things work together for good.” I think Jesus is saying that it’s okay to mourn. God himself will be the comforter for mourners. That’s why they are blessed– God empathizes and his promise to comfort mourners.

5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

I really like the stark contrast of this blessing to the quality to attain it. The meek, the humble people, will inherit the earth. So the people who don’t glorify themselves and the people who don’t try to make sure everyone knows how great they are will be the ones to inherit the earth. I feel like earth in this case is completely physical, not a matter of spiritual stuff. So they will be the ones to get riches, power, all the things that the people who aren’t meek want, Jesus says will be their inheritance.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

This is another blessing that Matthew and Luke disagree on. Luke, again chooses the physical hunger in Luke 6:21 again. Luke says The hungry will be satisfied while Matthew says those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness will be filled. I like the metaphor of being hungry and thirsty for righteousness. It’s like you acknowledge that you aren’t righteousness now, but you are working; doing everything in your power; to obtain it. Jesus’ promise for those people is that they will receive righteousness — not just enough righteousness to be satisfied (like Luke describes it), but so much righteousness that they will be full.

7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

This verse is pretty convicting for me. It’s pretty straight forward — you will get what you pay forward. It makes me question whether I show mercy to others or whether I seek “justice” on others. I say “justice” because It’s not so much what’s just, but what I consider to be justice for myself. I guess the thing for me to consider this week is how much mercy I am showing to people who wrong me.

8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

I don’t know what the difference is between being pure and being pure in heart. Perhaps pure is the result of being purified, while pure in heart is like innocence. The people who do not seek after unclean things are the same people who are seeking after God. Perhaps this is saying that are blessed because they will get what they are seeking after.

9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

The first thing I think of with this verse is Mother Theresa. I’m not Catholic, but I think she may be the ultimate example of a peacemaker in recent history. I think this verse is saying that we are recognized by our actions. If we stir arguments, people will see us in a violent manner, but if we make peace with others, they see us as the children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus is calling out to his people in this verse. He knows what’s going to happen to him and he knows what’s going to happen to the people in the several thousand years after his death. I think this is a word of encouragement to them. They are blessed because God sees why they are being persecuted. As a reward, their inheritance is his own kingdom. It reminds me of Revelations, there is a time when the martyrs will call out directly to God and ask for vengeance for their souls. The Lord says they must wait just a little longer so that every martyr will be among them when God avenges them. The martyrs have a very special place in Heaven if they can speak directly to God from his throne.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I think this further emphasizes his point from the last verse. It’s not just martyrs, but anyone who has been hurt because of Jesus. Although it hurts, they always have history to look back on — the prophets — and the future to look forward too — Heaven. I guess in the moment it kind of sucks, but this is a promise that one day they will live in a place with no suffering with a spot of honor because of the suffering they endured.

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