Key Verse: “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.”
THE BEATITUDES OR blessings constitute the initial portion of what is commonly known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”—Matt. 5:1-3
It is clear from the foregoing verses that Jesus was not addressing the public at large. Instead, he was speaking to his followers in order to set forth those attributes of character that needed to be manifested by those who would be acceptable to God as participants with Christ in his kingdom. Poverty of spirit relates to humility. This quality was exhibited by the Master in that he willingly submitted to the doing of his Father’s will in every particular. As his followers we must exhibit this same characteristic.
“They that mourn” must have compassion towards others who are experiencing grief. There are many opportunities to enter into the sorrows of our brethren as well as mankind and to offer comfort.—vs. 4
Meekness is to be gentle or approachable. (vs. 5) This trait also implies a willingness to suffer for righteousness rather than to exhibit a retaliatory spirit. “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”—II Tim. 2:24,25
We must have a sincere “hunger and thirst” for righteousness. (Matt. 5:6) As fallen individuals we are unable to perform perfectly in the flesh. However, we are to strive against our inherited weaknesses and fill our minds with thoughts that are sublime. (Phil. 4:8) As followers of Christ, his righteousness is imputed to us to make up for our many deficiencies. We are clothed with the “garments of salvation,” and are covered with the “robe of righteousness.”—Isa. 61:10
As part of our character transformation, believers are expected to develop a merciful attitude. We are deeply grateful that the Heavenly Father forgives our trespasses based upon a sincere repentance for misdeeds, and we must do likewise towards others who trespass against us. If we internalize this principle, it will help prepare us to become a part of that sympathetic high priest class in dealing with mankind during God’s kingdom. Heart purity also is needed by us and requires a vigorous warfare now against our unintentional weaknesses and blemishes.—Matt. 5:7,8
We have God’s blessing by learning to promote peace through our actions, and by words aptly spoken in season. (vs. 9) Appreciating the privilege of joyfully enduring persecution falsely is also evidence of our loyalty to godly principles and merits divine approval.—Matt. 5:9-11; I Pet. 4:14-16
Our Key Verse again reminds us of our great reward for faithfulness—“the kingdom of heaven.” Surely, it behooves us daily to serve the Father with every fiber of our being in all particulars. What joy there will be in both heaven and earth when all will realize what a marvelous plan of salvation our God has authored for all of his intelligent creatures.