The Beatitudes serve as an introduction to the well-known Sermon on the Mount that Jesus delivered in front of his disciples and many of his followers. The biblical passage is found in Matthew 5:3-12. Through the eight beatitudes, Jesus described how the character of his disciples should be and what is the reward they receive or will receive.
When we read the word ” blessed” (or ” happy,” depending on the translation), we must give it the meaning of a very privileged person. The people mentioned in the biblical passage are blessed, happy, and privileged. They will not be in the future but they already are.
Modern society considers those who have material resources, a good social position, or prestige to be happy. Jesus gives us a very different view of those who are truly happy or blessed.
Explanation of the Beatitudes:
Each of the beatitudes is addressed to a specific group of people who are developing the mentioned quality thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And that is precisely what it is about: developing the character that God wants to see in his children.
Each group is promised that they will receive the corresponding blessing. No matter how difficult your situation is at present, you can be sure that you will receive your reward. Let us strengthen our hearts with that truth!
1. The poor in spirit
Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
The first are those who recognize their spiritual poverty and who need God as Savior. They go with humble hearts into God’s presence to beg for his mercy and forgiveness from him (see Luke 18:9-14). This is where our walk with Jesus begins: by recognizing that we are not saved by our own merits but through him, by his great mercy, and by his grace.
The poor in spirit long to reflect the character of Jesus and for him to be glorified in their life. He lives in humility, submitted to the lordship of Christ. We see that his reward, the kingdom of heaven, already belongs to him. He does not have to wait for the future, he can already live in the reality of the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus, at the beginning of his earthly ministry, preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The poor in spirit respond to that message with genuine repentance before the Lord and receive his reward: the kingdom of heaven comes and transforms his life!
2. Those who cry
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
This group is closely related to the first. It speaks of those who repent and mourn deeply over their sins, over the way their actions have offended God and caused a gap between them and God. Once again, they are people who recognize their need for Jesus and cry out to him with a contrite heart. Paul speaks of this feeling when he says “The sadness that comes from God produces the repentance that leads to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
It is true that we go through sad and difficult situations in the course of life and God also brings comfort and peace to our hearts in those moments. But beatitude is rather for those who cry with deep pain for the sins committed. They will be comforted!
3. The humble
Blessed are the humble, because they will receive the earth as an inheritance.
This beatitude references Psalm 37:1-11. There is talk of someone who fully trusts in God and is not carried away by the attitudes of others or by the injustices that he sees around him. The meek and humble spirit does not react impulsively to situations but patiently waits for God’s direction to act according to His will.
The humble or meek person knows that God is in complete control, trusts him, and holds on to him and his promises. He is someone who waits without hesitation, with the confidence that God fulfills what he says and that his move always results in good for his children. The reward for the humble: he will receive the land as an inheritance.
4. Those who hunger and thirst for justice
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, because they will be satisfied.
This group of people yearns for there to be justice and for God’s justice to be manifested on earth. It is not just a wish: it is a great force and that is why they seek to actively participate so that there is justice. They approach God in search of his justice not only for themselves but also for the circumstances around them.
They recognize that true justice comes from God because they have experienced it in their lives. They have received his forgiveness and follow him in holiness and obedience. They know that even in the midst of everything that seems unfair in this world, God will act sooner or later with his justice, and this certainty drives them. The promise to them is that they will be filled. They will see the manifestation of God’s justice.
5. The Compassionate
Blessed are the compassionate, for they will be treated with compassion.
The heart transformed by the love and forgiveness of God will show mercy and compassion, will identify with the pain of others, and will sympathize. This will not go unrewarded. He who shows compassion for others will also receive compassion when he needs it. It’s like a boomerang.
How is compassion expressed? Following God’s example. He opened the way for us to eternal life through Jesus while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). When we are compassionate, we reach out to others and help them to be better people and children of God.
The compassionate strives to understand the situation of others without ignoring or letting go of the mistakes they have made. He gives them the necessary tools to discover and use the potential that God has placed in them. He keeps his eyes fixed on what God wants to do and not on the mistakes that people have made.
6. The pure in heart
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
To have a clean heart is to have a heart that inclines towards the things that please God. Whoever has a clean heart seeks holiness and does not allow himself to be contaminated by feelings or attitudes that sadden God. The heart that belongs solely and exclusively to God is pure, that does not put anything or anyone else on the throne. God is his exalted King of him, the one who dictates and reigns over every feeling and every thought. And that is why he will see God!
Who can climb the mountain of the Lord? Who can be in his holy place? Only he with clean hands and a pure heart, who does not worship vain idols or swear by false gods.
7. Those who work for peace
Blessed are those who work for peace, because they will be called children of God.
This beatitude is for those who actively work for peace. It does not refer to those who live in peace: I can live in peace because I keep myself isolated from others or do not interfere in anyone’s life. But that does not mean that I am intentionally collaborating so that there is peace because I know that it is part of the mission that God has entrusted to me.
The peace he refers to is internal peace, that of knowing that we are children of God, that we have been reconciled with him through the work of Jesus on the cross. For peacemakers, their mission is to reconcile the world with God, to help him live in his peace. They will be called children of God because they express in a special way the heart of the Father.
8. Those persecuted for the sake of justice
Blessed are those persecuted for the sake of justice, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because they act in favor of justice. These are the people who don’t keep quiet when they see someone who is defenseless being mistreated. They are the ones who raise their voices and act in favor of the rights of those who cannot defend themselves because they know that each life has value before God. They work in search of solutions so that everyone lives in peace and receives respect.
To these too, as well as to the poor in spirit, belongs the kingdom of heaven. They already enjoy their reward. Why? Because the kingdom of heaven draws near when we are guided by the justice that comes from God.
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Encouragement for persecuted Christians:
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and raise all kinds of slander against you because of me. Rejoice and be overjoyed, because a great reward awaits you in heaven. So also they persecuted the prophets who preceded you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Those who are persecuted for the Gospel will have a great reward in heaven. Today there are many brothers who do not have the freedom to go to meet as a Church or cannot even have the Bible in their homes. They are forced to live their faith alone and with great caution. Many are in prison; they suffer here, but they will be rewarded for eternity.
We must support them in prayer asking God to strengthen them and that they may feel his peace in the midst of the difficulties they face daily.
Other blessed in the Book of Psalms
1. Those who do not follow evil but delight in the Word of the Lord
Blessed is the man who does not follow the counsel of the wicked, nor stays in the path of sinners, nor cultivates the friendship of blasphemers, but delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates on it day and night. It is like a tree planted on the bank of a river that, when its time comes, bears fruit and its leaves never wither. Everything he does prospers!
2. Those who have received forgiveness of their sins
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are blotted out. Blessed is he to whom the Lord does not take into account his wickedness and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3. Those who choose to serve and obey God
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.
4. Those who take refuge in God
Taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed are those who take refuge in him.
5. Those chosen to serve God
Blessed is he whom you choose, whom you draw to you to live in your courts!
6. Those who fear the Lord and follow him
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. What you earn with your hands, that you will eat; You will enjoy happiness and prosperity.
7. Those who have their hope placed in God
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, creator of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and who always maintains the truth.