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PASSAGE STUDY: A BLESSED LIFE



In an attempt to make the navigation of the reading as easy as possible, all of the verses have been pulled from www.biblegateway.com and linked appropriately so that you can simply click highlighted words and be taken directly to the verse.

 

To begin, click the link below to read the passage that we will be diving into and studying together this month.




THE BEATITUDES



 
  • Book: Matthew

  • Passage: The Beatitudes

  • Author: Matthew the Tax Collector; One of Jesus' Disciples

  • Date Written: AD 58-68

  • Genre: Gospel

  • Audience: It is thought that Matthew was possibly writing to a Jewish audience due to the large amount of Old Testament quotes.

  • Purpose: The Gospel of Matthew tells a story of God's redemption through Jesus, as it relates to Jewish Christians. It brings to light Jesus' fulfillment of the Scriptures as the long-awaited promised Messiah.

  • Key Verses: Matthew 5:2-12

 

What does it mean to be blessed? This word has swirled around in my brain over the past several months as I have pondered its true meaning. Admittedly, I have carelessly thrown this word around time and time ago – “God Bless You”, “Have a blessed day”, “I feel so blessed” and the famous southern one –“bless your heart”! While none of these saying or wrong or inaccurate, the way in which we find ourselves uttering them sometimes is done so without understanding what it truly means to live a blessed life.


We saw last month that before Jesus began His earthly ministry/teachings, He was baptized by John the Baptist and was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. He began His ministry by preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17). As the crowds multiplied, Jesus went up on the mountain where He would preach the first of five of The Sermons on the Mount: The Beatitudes.


Beatitudes are blessings for believers. Years ago, someone (I cannot remember who it was for the life of me) told me that we can read these verses as if Jesus is teaching them in order that we can see what our attitude should be. These Beatitudes teach us what it means to be blessed. These verses are often widely misunderstood due to the lens through which these blessings are viewed.


This world tells us that blessings equal prosperity, good health, power, position, little problems, effortless relationships, minor disruptions, disagreements, and grievances. But if viewed through the correct lens; that of Jesus, this is completely inaccurate. Instead, how Christians view the blessings in their lives should mirror these.


To live in the light of these should be the goal of those who have received Christ as their Savior. They should direct us, guide us, and put on display where and who we have placed our trust in.


“he (Jesus) opened his mouth and taught them, saying:” (Matthew 5:2)

Beatitude 1

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (vs.3)


Jesus was not referencing our level of income or wealth. Instead, he says, “the poor in spirit”. Let me ask you this –What would cause one to beg for something?


For instance, if I were to beg for food it would show that I have little or none and that I’m hungry. If indeed that was the truth, I would beg because I know that I need it to survive. So, in the same way, the poor in spirit are in desperate need of something. And that something is Salvation in Jesus Christ and the restoration that He promises to those that would surrender and believe now and, in His future/ultimate Restoration.


The poor in spirit are blessed because they recognize that apart from Christ, they are completely helpless and hopeless. This attitude of dependency, faith, and trust changes the way we live as Children of God.



Beatitude 2

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (vs.4)


We all know what it means to mourn. As humans, mourning and sadness are parts of living in this broken world. It honestly seems to welcome us around every corner. This idea, from my perspective, seems to almost be a part 2 to the first Beatitude. As we recognize that we are helpless without Christ and we then acknowledge that at one time, our sin separated us from Him, we should mourn over any sin in our lives. But because of Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection, we now have freedom from the sin that once held us captive.


Those who mourn are blessed because they understand the gravity of what their sin has caused. They realize the price that Jesus willingly paid for them to be forgiven, redeemed, and brought back into a right relationship with a Holy God.



Beatitude 3

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (vs.5)


It seems that our culture views this one far from what Jesus intended it to mean. The world tells us that meek is quiet and shy –maybe even weak. But being meek from the perspective of this verse is best understood as being humble. It means that we look into the deepest part of our heart and see it as it really is...how Jesus sees it. Being meek means that we remember who we were before Christ. We were sinful, dirty, shameful, and without hope.


But because of Jesus’s death on the Cross, we are now made new. We can now reflect the image that we were originally created in. Our boasting is not for our own abilities and talents but all for the glory of God.


The meek are blessed because they know that this life is about honoring the Father and not themselves. Their character is humble, and they trust that apart from Jesus, they can do absolutely nothing. (John 15:5) The power that they have isn’t a measure of their own strength but instead, the Holy Spirit working in their lives for something far greater than they can even imagine.



Beatitude 4

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”

(vs. 6)


Being hungry and thirsty is a state of being. Just because you eat, and drink one day doesn’t mean that you won’t be hungry the next day. It is a constant, continuous ongoing cycle.


Therefore, the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed because of it. Their wants and needs birth a life that is lived for Jesus. Not only in certain moments but also in the same continuous manner that we hunger and thirst for food and drink. In normal circumstances, no one goes for two days and says I am not hungry or thirsty. Our bodies are not designed to function in such a way.


In the same way, those that hungry and thirst for righteousness are blessed because their lives are based on and revolve around living a righteous life solely for the honor and Glory of God.



Beatitude 5

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (vs. 7)


It seems to be acceptable these days to turn a blind eye to the pains of others. Some view the heartaches of others as distractions and inconveniences to their already established tight schedule. And sometimes the reason that we don’t step into the lives of others seems to be well-intentioned. We don’t want to be nosy; we don’t want to interfere, and we want to give them space.


But Jesus knew and understood the gravity of stepping into the messy complicated lives of others. Their hurt mattered and had it not, he wouldn’t have carried the burden of the cross that he himself would soon die on.


The merciful are blessed because they are moved by a heart that cares and loves for others. They take time to see and feel the pains of others. They show love, kindness, and mercy to the deserved and the undeserved because they understand that Jesus has done the same for them.



Beatitude 6

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (vs. 8)


The word pure says it all. Pure hearts are only made pure with Jesus. While the Old Testament used ceremonials and rituals to cleanse and make pure, Jesus brought a forever cleansing that was done once, for all, and forever.


The pure in heart are blessed and will see God because of their acceptance of Christ and their savior and their life lived surrendered to Him. The pure in heart are blessed because of the condition of their heart, mind, and soul. This pure heart is made possible only because of Jesus.


A Christian becomes a Christian when they are transformed from death to life and made right with God. But following this, they are sanctified and set apart for the work that God has for His people. This ongoing process of sanctification offers them the vision of the power, might, and purpose of the One True God.



Beatitude 7

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (vs. 9)


How does one make peace? Do we jump in and stop the quarrelsome behaviors of others? Do you give rules and regulations? Do we stay quiet and keep the noise down? Possibly but this only creates temporary resolutions. Peacemakers bring peace through one means –The Gospel.


The Gospel is our source of peace. It’s permanent and it’s eternal. Peacemakers are blessed because the Holy Spirit has equipped them to share this peace only because they know it for themselves. Because of this they are “called sons of God”.



Beatitude 8

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (vs. 10)


This is the one we often want to avoid. Most would say that they do not want to suffer. Jesus didn’t want to suffer. He even asked His father to take it from Him. But lastly, He made clear that more than anything, He wanted the Will of His Father to be done regardless of what amount of suffering it brought. We think that persecution is something we only read about in the Bible. And while we may not live in a country where people are killed for their faith in Jesus, Christians are to be prepared to suffer for Christ if or when necessary.


This suffering is for something greater than the temporal moments of pain. It’s for eternity of those around us and the glory of God. When followers of Christ who are doing His work on this earth are persecuted, they are blessed, and they will see the Kingdom of Heaven. And this Kingdom far outweighs the pains of this world.

 

As for myself, I can say with certainty that the Blessings, happiness, and Joy that I have found because of Jesus is like nothing else I have ever experienced. It doesn’t mean that every day goes perfectly, that I don’t feel pain, that I don’t get my feelings hurt, and that I don’t have moments of disappointment and worry... because I absolutely do –I have and will continue to experience all of those as long as I live on this earth.


But because of Jesus, I know that a better day is coming when I will see Him face to face and the troubles of this world will fade away. But while I am still here, I remind myself daily that there is Kingdom work to be done. It’s hard, it’s messy and it’s tiring, but the souls who have yet to hear and receive the good news of the Gospel are worth it all. No, God doesn’t need me. He could do every bit of this all on his own. But thanks be to Him that He has placed me here so that I can be a tiny part of His wonderful plan.


As we move into this week, let us view the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad through the lens of eternity instead of the temporary. Life on earth guarantees each of us a mixture of hurts and unfortunate moments as well as times of unexpected celebrations and victories. There are days of sunshine and days of storms that come in no certain order or amount, but when it’s all done for the glory of God it matters regardless. I remind myself and my children often that difficult doesn’t equal wrong when God is glorified.

And while the world may call one blessed because of their current state of being, blessed is actually the result of seeing, living, and responding to the moments of our days in a way that honors the One true God.

 

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