Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What are the Beatitudes? What is the Sermon on the Mount? The simple answer is the Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount were the pre-cursor to Christ publicly revealing Himself as the fulfillment of the Law and the sole source of the New Covenant. I like to call it the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.
The extended explanation is that they are original Biblical terms used frequently in Christian teaching or discipleship to describe the message of Jesus as told in the Matthew's Gospel chapter 5:3-12. This virtue based message was intended to lead the hearer not only to an deeper understanding of the nature and expectations of the Kingdom of Heaven, but also the clear and opened pathway to an eternal life with God under the new covenant through Christ Jesus, the Messiah.
Jesus spoke that day to a diverse multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual crowd of over five thousand men, women and children who had gathered near the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee about 12 miles south of the ancient city of Capernaum.
Although there are only nine of the Beatitudes, Jesus taught the people for the greater portion of that day on a number of critical and revolutionary ideas and principles that would now become the commands and expectations for those whose faith and hope rested in God.
Salt and Light - Fulfilling the Law - Anger - Lust - Divorce Oaths - Retaliation - Loving Your Enemies - Generosity/Giving to the Needy - How to Pray - How to Prioritize - How to Manage Anxiety and the Cares of Life - Judging Others - What is Appropriate to Ask God For - How to Treat Others - How and Where to Build Your Faith
Listen to how Matthew sets up how and why this historical sermon and event took place.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee (northern Israel, southern Lebanon) and the Decapolis (10 cities of the Galilean region), and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
The Beatitudes are a group of “blessed are” statements that Jesus used to open His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:3–12. You could say this was the true and righteous virtue signaling. The word “beatitude” does not originate during or around the time of Jesus or even the first or 2nd century Church but rather the term originates from the 3rd century Latin word beatitudo. They are also called macarisms, a label that corresponds to the original Greek word typically translated as “blessed” (μακάριος, makarios) that begins each of the nine beatitudes that Jesus taught.
Most Biblical theologians believe that the Beatitudes originate from Jesus Himself - no kidding. I find it interesting that in contextual and historical study of the text, that nearly half of the beatitudes are paradoxical (seem to be a contradiction but in reality are both true: blessed are the poor, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger, and blessed are those who are persecuted. They are Paradoxical in the sense that how does one consider it a blessing to be poor, to be hungry, to mourn, to be meek or weak, or to be persecuted? (More on that later)
Let's start with defining in context the star word of the Beatitudes. Blessed
In the original context in its Greek form the word "blessed' denotes the transcendent happiness of a life beyond care, labour and death, extols human happiness; possession and happiness are inseparably connected here; one who has a good spirit; a leading philosophical term for inner happiness; one who is provided or favored with a happy destiny.
a person or persons who have had a distinctive and direct experience with or from God; one who has known and followed the will and commands of God; one who has received promises from God as the Giver of all blessedness; the fullness of life as it relates first to earthly blessings, a good wife, children, beauty, honor, wisdom, reputation; God’s will is known to His people Israel; this is its privilege and the basis of its blessedness; the one who trusts in God, who hopes and waits for Him, who fears and loves Him; inner happiness not subject to life circumstances, tribulation, trial, or earthly difficulty.
(Friedrich Hauck and Georg Bertram, “Μακάριος, Μακαρίζω, Μακαρισμός,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–)
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