The Beatitudes

Written by Pastor James Dorman

Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-26

1. Thoughts from Matthew and Luke:

Matthew 5:3–12 (NIV84)   “3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst or righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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.”

Luke 6:20–26 (NIV84)   “20 Looking at his disciples, he said:  “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets. “

2. Passage Outline

The Beatitudes
Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-26

I. Jesus Initiates His Instruction  (Luke 6:20a)

II. Jesus’ Message (Matt. 3:1-12; Luke 20b-26)

a. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit (Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20b)

b. Blessed are Those Who Mourn (Matt. 5:4; Luke 6:21b)

c. Blessed are the Meek (Matt. 5:5)

d. Blessed are those Who Hunger for Righteousness (Matt. 5:6; Luke 6:21a)

e. Blessed are the Merciful (Matt. 5:7)

f. Blessed are the Pure in Heart (Matt. 5:8)

g. Blessed are the Peacemakers (Matt. 5:9)

h. Blessed are You when You are Persecuted for Righteousness (Matt. 5:10)

i. Blessed are You when Men revile You because of Jesus (Matt. 5:11-12; Luke 6:22-23)

j. Woe to Those Who are Rich (Luke 6:24)

k. Woe to Those Who are Full (Luke 6:25a)

l. Woe to Those Who Laugh Now (Luke 6:25b)

m. Woe to Those when People Speak well of Them (Luke 6:26)

3. Information to Consider

6:20–23. Jesus’ teaching was directed to his disciples. Others listened in. Three blessings underline the mission Jesus set out in 4:18–19.

The unhappy poor possess the kingdom of God. The hungry will find satisfaction. The NIV’s “satisfaction” translates the Greek chortasthesate, literally “will be fed, will eat one’s full.” Jesus turned human need into human contentment. Those crying over their pitiful condition on earth will laugh at the new conditions Jesus creates for them.

Pitiful hunger and poverty are not the only conditions that the blessed face. They also face persecution. People turn against them, hating them, excluding them from society, insulting them, rejecting their very name, the only reputation they have now and after they die. If loyalty to Jesus brought such drastic consequences, fear not; Jesus promised his blessing. The question pops up at us: do we trust Jesus enough to wait on his blessing, or must we find instant gratification in fellowship and fame with the world? Look at the reaction Jesus expected. Given the dirtiest treatment earth can deal out, we should leap and shout for joy. We have joined the ranks of the prophets in receiving the world’s harshest blows. Life here may be dastardly. Life with Jesus in heaven will be heavenly. Is that reward enough, or must we have something here and now? If so, depart from the company of the blessed.

6:24–26. The blessed life has a counterpart—the woeful life. The Greek ouai reflects a situation of horror, disaster, and calamity. Such awaits the rich, the one who has never known hunger, the person who has all the reason in the world to laugh, the individual who sits atop the social ladder hearing nothing but praises and adoration. These are short-lived in the face of eternity. False prophets gained the same adulation and wealth. Comfortable now, such people face eventual starvation and grief. Is power and praise at the moment prize enough for us? Or do we look to eternal rewards? That is Jesus’ question for disciples of all ages. [1]

[1] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, pp. 92–93). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.[

4. Questions to Ponder

a. What is the meaning of “Blessed”?  (Matt. 5:3-11; Luke 6:20-22)

b. Define each of Matthew’s “Beattitudes” … (Matt. 5:3-12)

c. Are Luke’s “Beattitudes” special or universal?  (Luke 6:20-23)

5. Author’s Comments

Within this presentation the Christian community has entitled, “The Sermon on the Mount, we discover some of the most remarkable instructions Jesus presented during His time here on Earth.  During His instruction, we discover the approaches to life which are blessed by our Heavenly Father and those which lead us in a direction which takes us away from our Father’s will for our lives.

As we engage in the Christian life, our mission must be to discover the truths within passages like this, find ways to integrate them into our personal DNA, and commit ourselves to living out these adopted truths as we experience the tremendous life God has entrusted to our care.

When I consider the awesome opportunity, this brings to my life, I often feel overwhelmed and inadequate to the challenge God has placed before me and before you.  Yet, when I seek to pursue this challenge daily by just taking the next step the Holy Spirit is guiding me to take, the journey becomes exciting and I pursue the path which leads to God’s planned destination for my life.  I hope it is a journey you choose to take as well!   

6. Closing Prayer

Father,

Today I am surrounded by the wonder of winter here in my snow-covered Flagstaff community.  Your sky is hidden by the billowy clouds, full of moisture, and poised to unleash another shower of snowflakes which will bring a new blanket of pure, white snow!

As we look forward to Christmas, let us not only reflect upon the wonder of Jesus’ entrance into human history, but let us also commit to pursue the pathway which will bring Your blessings in our lives and lives of our family.

In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

7. Answers to “Questions to Ponder”

a. “Blessed” (Greek – markarios):  happy, contented, joyous.

b. Matthew’s beatitudes

  1. Poor in Spirit:  recognition of spiritual bankruptcy
  2. Mourn:  a time of repentance for our sins and of the world’s
  3. Meek:  having submitted to God’s control
  4. Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness:  desire to keep God’s Commandments and live life God’s way
  5. Merciful:  wanting to help based on another person’s need(s)
  6. Pure in Heart:  single motive is to please God
  7. Peacemakers:  seekers of peace between God and them; God and others; others and them
  8. Persecuted for Righteousness:  persecution for pursuing righteous living and righteous behavior
  9. When You are Reviled for Jesus: ability to take what Jesus took for us

c. Both.  All will receive the woes listed in Luke, but it is especially noted for those who are known as disciples of Jesus.