1And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then 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 filled.

7     Blessed are the merciful,

For they shall obtain 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 they revile and 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 so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

At this point in history Jesus has been baptized by John the Baptist, suffered through the temptations of Satan, and chosen His first Disciples.  Knowing He was the Messiah, His followers thought their troubles were nearly over; that they were about to received immense blessings; that the Romans would be vanquished; and the Promised Messiah was here to rule forever.  Jesus sits down (the position of a Rabbi) to teach them they got part of it right, they were blessed but not in the way they may have imagined.  He teaches them about their eternal blessings.

The Greek word translated for blessing here is more like “fortunate” or of “being in an enviable position.”  Contrary to appearances the disciples, and Christians in general, are to be greatly envied.  Why?  Our reward is not the here and now of this world.  Our reward is immeasurably better.  We have inherited eternal life and a forever loving relationship with our Lord. 

Applying to both then and now, Jesus was pointing out some characteristics of the Christian in the fallen world.  These characteristics include visible attributes of the Christian, and demonstrate true discipleship.  He points out:

  • We are envied when we’re poor in spirit, meaning materially oppressed. 
  • We are envied when we mourn, or in the Greek, when we suffer, especially for loyalty to God. 
  • We are envied because we have the courage to rely on God and not ourselves (meekness). 
  • We are envied for our thirst for righteousness, we deeply hunger for our relationship with the Lord.   
  • We are envied for being peacemakers, or not engaging in conflict of the world, striving for peace rather than strife. 
  • We are envied for living a life so focused on our Lord that we attract persecution.

Jesus finishes the list with verse 11, the icing on the cake.  The disciples were in good company.  Throughout history the faithful have lived through these difficulties and displayed these attributes.  This is expected, persecution always comes to the faithful. 

Rather than see it as a negative, we should see it as a positive.  The world, and even ourselves, sees our true association and relationship with the Lord.  We know deep in our heart where we stand, and so does the enemy.  We can be nothing but joyous knowing what we are headed for in eternity.  Our time here is short, eternity is forever.  Any price is worth it.

God bless,