THE SERMONS OF JESUS

The Sermon on the Mount: Beatitudes (Part Two)

. THE BEATITUDES

The Beatitudes Describe the Citizen of the Kingdom of God

Look very closely at the first beatitude in Matt. 5:3 and the eighth beatitude in Matt. 5:10. What do these 2 beatitudes have in common?


The fact that the statement "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" appears in the first and last beatitudes implies that both these beatitudes and the ones between them describe the person who is a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. The implication to this is that these 8 beatitudes describe the type of person we should be as citizens of the kingdom of God.



The First Beatitude (Matt. 5:3)

In Matt. 5:3 God's blessing falls upon whom?

What do you believe this kind of person is like?


Read 1 Cor. 4:7-15, 2 Cor. 4:5; Phil. 1:21. In these verses Paul describes some characteristics of the person who should be poor in spirit. (In 1 Cor. 4:7-15 Paul is using sarcasm to put the Corinthians in their proper place. For example, they think that they are rich spiritually, while in fact they are poor spiritually.) What are some of those characteristics?



What blessing falls upon the person who is poor is spirit? "For theirs is the _______________ _____ __________________."


As you work through these beatitudes, you will discover that they reflect the character of Jesus. In what sense was Jesus "poor in spirit?" When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the shape of a dove. After He was anointed with the Spirit, the Spirit drove Jesus in the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. In His first sermon Jesus claimed that the OT prophecy "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me" was fulfilled by His being filled with the Spirit. The implication to this is that Jesus did nothing under His own leadership and in His own power. Rather all He did was under the leadership and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Second Beatitude (Matt. 5:4)

In the second beatitude God's blessing falls upon those who mourn? Why do you think these people are mourning?


Sorrow is such an integral element of life that whenever John describes the new Jerusalem, he describes what will not be there: "There shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning or crying or pain; the first things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4). Next, one of the major titles applied to the Spirit of Christ is Comforter (John 14:26). One of the primary things God does for His people is to comfort them.

According to Jesus what will happen to His followers who mourn?


When do you see Jesus mourning in the Gospels?


If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Third Beatitude (Matt. 5:5)

According to the third beatitude, God's blessing falls upon what kind of person?

The King James Version translates the Greek word prautes as "meek." How does your translation translate this word? Do you see a problem with the way the KJV translates this word?


Unfortunately the church tends either to make men effeminate or else hamstrings men. One of the major reasons the Roman empire fell was that it embraced a perverted form of Christianity as its official religion. The Christianity of that day preached a radical passivity to the troubles of life. It is one thing to suffer for Christ and yet another to allow foreign armies invade your country. In the first instance Christ tells us to turn the other cheek; in the second Jesus tells us to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, that is, go to war for your country when necessary.

The word translated "gentle" in the NASB has the idea behind it of a powerful stallion who is under the control of his rider. The stallion is as powerful as he was before he was broken; however, now his energies are being directed in a positive direction. So too the Christian is not to be limp-wristed. Rather all his powers and energies are to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. This person is blessed.

Probably the best illustration of this word in the Bible is the person the OT calls the most humble person on the earth. Who was that person? Think about what God did through his ministry. What made him humble was the fact that he always obeyed God.


What does Jesus promise to the gentle in verse 5?

This beatitude impressed me more than any of the rest of the beatitudes when I was sitting on top of the mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the traditional spot where Jesus was supposed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount. That day the sky was clear and blue, the grass was green, and the flowers were blooming. I thought back to the day when Jesus delivered this beatitude. How the hearts of His listeners must have leapt with joy when they heard that all they surveyed would be theirs one day.


In what way do we see Jesus "gentle?"


If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Fourth Beatitude (Matt. 5:6)

According to the fourth beatitude, God's blessing falls upon what kind of person?

What promise does God make to the person in the fourth beatitude?

The words "hunger and thirst" point to a person who is starving to death or who is dying of thirst. The word "satisfied," on the other hand, refers to the person who has eaten so much that he has gotten fat. God is not going to give us just a little bit of righteousness. We are going to be made fat with righteousness.


Remember that righteousness in the Sermon on the Mount deals not with coming into a right relationship with God but with living righteously. It nearly always refers to rightly relating to people. The great commands are to love God wholeheartedly and then to love one's neighbor as himself. Righteousness is seen in the way we relate to people, not to "always being right."

If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Fifth Beatitude (Matt. 5:7)

According to the fifth beatitude, God's blessing falls upon what kind of person?


The beatitudes reflect the character of Christ Himself. Think back on His life and see if you can remember instances in which Jesus showed mercy to others. Write down some examples of Jesus showing mercy or compassion on others, or some examples of Jesus weeping over the hurt and pain of others. Did Jesus ever weep over sin in people's lives?



What promise does God make to the person in the fifth beatitude?


What do you think Jesus means when He says the merciful shall receive mercy? Who do you think will give you mercy whenever you show mercy?



Does mercy toward your enemies work? It works at least some of the time. The Christian king Alfred the Great, one of the most revered of England's kings, fought in desperate times against the pagan Danes. For over a year Alfred and his forces were almost extinguished from the English scene by the Danes. With him would have gone Christianity in England. In one last decisive battle though, Alfred defeated the pagan Danes led by Guthrum. When he had the Danes and Guthrum in his power, how did he respond? By converting Guthrum and his forces to Christianity and adopting Guthrum as his godson. Did it work? For the remainder of Guthrum's life, the Danes and English lived in peace. (source: Winston Churchill'ss History of the English-Speaking Peoples, vol. 1).


If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Sixth Beatitude (Matt. 5:8)

According to the sixth beatitude, God's blessing falls upon what kind of person?


What does Jesus mean by a person being "pure in heart"?


The primary idea of this element is that a person being single focused, that is, we keep our eyes on Jesus. One of the funniest comics of the 1970's was Marty Feldman. In his masterpiece role of Igor in Young Frankenstein, Feldman used his crazy eyes for great comic effect. One eye would look in one direction and the second eye in another direction. That ability is great if you are starring in a comic masterpiece; however, it is sad, even pathetic though when we are this way in the spiritual sense. For many of us, one eye is focusing on Jesus and the other on either riches, fame, status, health, beauty, etc. Many of us are spiritual Marty Feldmans.

What promise does God make to the person in the sixth beatitude?


In what sense shall the "pure in heart" see God?


In what sense was Jesus "pure in heart?"


According to John 5:19 what things did Jesus do? What works did He perform? Would He perform any other kinds of works?


If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Seventh Beatitude (Matt. 5:9)

According to the seventh beatitude, God's blessing falls upon what kind of person?


What promise does God make to the person in the seventh beatitude?


Why do you think that God reserves the label of "sons of God" to peacemakers? Why does He reserve this for peacemakers and not to those who mourn or to those who are poor in spirit?


You can sum up the effects of Jesus' ministry in the one word "peace." Christ came to make peace between God and man, and between man and man. The concept of peace is so vital for the church that one of the 2 major offices in the church was created for the purpose of making peace--the deacon body (see Acts 6).

If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.



The Eighth Beatitude (Matt. 5:10-12)

According to the eighth beatitude, God's blessing falls upon what kind of person?


Verses 11 and 12 expand upon the eighth beatitude. According to verse 10 this person is persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Verses 11 and 12 explain what it means to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness. According to verses 11 and 12 how is a person persecuted for the sake of righteousness? What does it mean to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness?



Why are Christians persecuted? Because they adhere to an offending religion. Christianity offends. You can talk about God all day long and nobody will get riled up. Start talking about Jesus though and people are going to get upset. Although Jesus came to make peace, His peace is based upon righteousness, that is, a right relationship with Him and the Father. Jesus said that by proclaiming the truth He is God the Son, He has actually brought a sword into the world which can divide fathers from sons and mothers from daughters.

Some Christians are persecuted because of the offense of Christ and the cross, while others though are persecuted because they are offensive. It's OK to be persecuted in the first instance but not in the second.

What promise does God make to the person in the eighth beatitude?


If you have time, read the rest of the Sermon on the Mount and see if any parts of it relate to this beatitude.