Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He opened his mouth and taught them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12
He who spoke in times past by the prophets now opened His mouth. These first words of the Great Teacher, come from God, reveal the way of happiness—not through doings, but being. Happiness is found not in what we have, but in what we are. This blessedness belongs to every Christlike character.
I. A Christian’s Character
1. A Christian is Poor in Spirit (v. 3). Not spiritually poor, because that through the poverty of Christ he is made rich. The humble spirit is indwelt by the God of grace and glory (Isa. 57:15).
2. A Christian Mourns (v. 4). Not for fear of missing the kingdom, but over everything that hinders his greater growth into the image of Christ; over the sins of others; over the enemies of the Cross.
3. A Christian is Meek (v. 5). He would not be like his Master if he was not meek and lowly (Matthew 11:29). Not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise (see v. 39). A peculiar people.
4. A Christian Hungers and Thirsts (v. 6). Not after the pleasures of sin and worldliness, but after righteousness— righteousness unto God These cravings are the natural desires of the new man.
5. A Christian is Merciful (v. 7). He delights to show mercy because he himself has had great mercy showed him Christ prayed for His enemies, so does he.
6. A Christian is Pure in Heart (v. 8). His heart is right with God. Wholly yielded up to His holy will. Delighting in all that is pleasing to Him. Cleansed by the blood, and open to the light.
7. A Christian Makes Peace (v. 9). He loves peace because he has the peace of God ruling in his heart. He seeks to make peace by beseeching men to be reconciled to God.
8. A Christian Suffers Persecution (v. 10, 11). If any man will live godly he must suffer persecution. “They persecuted Me; they will persecute you.” Notice that these characteristics present us with a true portrait of the life of Jesus Christ. Are we like Him?
II. A Christian’s Prospects
Each Christ-like characteristic, you observe, has its own special reward. It is always so.
1. A Christian Shall be Comforted (v. 4). This is the hour and power of darkness. Being poor in spirit the kingdom is sure, and all the comforts of the kingdom will yet be given.
2. A Christian Shall Inherit (v. 5). The saints have not much of the earth just now, but when He comes they shall inherit it (Rev. 20:6). There is a good time coming (Dan. 7:22).
3. A Christian Shall be Filled (v. 6). “They shall hunger no more.” We shall be satisfied when we awake in His likeness. Filled with all the fulness of God. Present hunger is the evidence of future filling. There is satisfaction for every holy longing.
4. A Christian Shall Obtain Mercy (v. 7). The mercy of God, which covered his sin, can cover every fault and failing. Blameless.
5. A Christian Shall See God (v. 8). Because his heart is pure he is an holy one (Heb. 12:14). Holy eyes see holy things; a holy heart shall see a holy God. Holiness is capacity for God.
6. A Christian Shall be Called a Child of God (v. 9). The world says, “pestilent fellows.” Christ says, “Sons of God.” Every one like the children of a king (Judges 8:18).
7. A Christian Shall be Rewarded (v 12). “Great is your reward in Heaven.” Reviled on earth; rewarded in Heaven with an eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). Let not the fear of man rob you of your reward.
(James Smith, Handfuls on Purpose)