The Beatitudes: Blessings from Jesus

The Beatitudes: Blessings from Jesus

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3–12

What are the beatitudes?

The beatitudes are blessings Jesus pronounced on people as the kingdom of God was arriving in his ministry. Kingdom beatitudes occur in Matthew 5:3–12 and Luke 6:20–22. Jesus also speaks general blessings on other occasions such as in Matthew 11:6, Luke 11:28, and John 20:29.

The content of the blessings focuses on the kingdom

The first and eighth beatitudes in Matthew envelop the others with the promise of the kingdom itself (Matthew 5:3b,10b). The first beatitude in Luke also promises the kingdom (Luke 6:20b).

In all four blessings in Luke and the first four in Matthew, the most unlikely of people are pronounced blessed – the poor, the hungry, the meek. Yet because they have lived to see the day of God’s benevolent rule being established in this world, Jesus pronounces them blessed. As God comes to reign, he will right all wrongs, and everyone who lives to see and welcome his rule—even and especially the downtrodden—will be blessed.

The beatitudes are characterized by a sense of reversal of expectation and of circumstance

The second four beatitudes in Matthew 5 focus on those who join in God’s great restoration and reversal work of mercy and justice. Jesus pronounces blessings on those who enact mercy, integrity, peace, and righteousness or justice (Matthew 5:7–10).

The pronouncements or promises express reversals of expectation – those who are hungry will be satisfied, those who mourn will be comforted and laugh, and those who are meek will inherit the whole earth. As God’s reign is established in this world, its effects will be life-changing for those who most need mercy and justice and for all those who share in Jesus’ ministry.

Reflect

God wants you to be blessed. Take a moment to meditate on Jesus’ pronouncement of blessings and its application in your life today.

Content drawn from the NIV Study Bible, Fully Revised Edition.

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