The Beatitudes

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 meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
— Matthew 5:3-10

Everywhere Jesus taught, His instructions were as spiritual as they were practical. The beatitudes are one of my favorite places in scripture, found at the beginning of Jesus' sermon on the mount in Matthew 5. They have always been a place where He wakes me up.

As I've read this passage time and time again, I often find myself focusing on the promises in the beatitudes rather than on their call. My desire to receive the kingdom, to be comforted, to be satisfied, to obtain mercy, to see God, and to become a child of God far outweigh my desire to live in alignment with the conditions within each of these promises.

Within God's every promise, there remains this captivating call into a different way of living. A call to live the kingdom where I am with God presently. To receive His influence in the here and now rather than at some other point in time or place in space.

As you read the beatitudes, let Jesus draw your heart out by how willing He is to reveal Himself through them and to call people into the kingdom of God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Jesus identified with the poor, the marginalized, and the destitute. The have nots. Those in utter dependence.

Blessed are those who mourn.

Jesus wept over Lazarus with his family. He heard the lepers crying out in the distance and cleansed them by a touch. He had compassion over those experiencing loss and leprosy.

Blessed are the meek.

Jesus came not as the rightful king He was, but as a humble baby born into poverty and obscurity.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Jesus had a consuming zeal for His Father's house and said that His food was to do His Father's will. He proclaimed the kingdom of God in the courts of the unjust social constructs of the world.

Blessed are the merciful.

Jesus spent most of His time attending to the needs of others, even to death on the cross. His mercy didn't give people a break. His mercy broke Himself to give them a Father.

Blessed are the pure in heart.

Jesus had no other initiative than to reveal the Father's love for all.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Jesus brought peace to raging storms, to hopeless widows, and to unsuspecting sinners.

Blessed are the persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

Jesus lived confidently in the midst of persecution, and even welcomed betrayal by one of His closest disciples.

In every beatitude the life of Jesus is on full display, captivating our attention and calling us into the reality of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Do you see it? Seeing Jesus is seeing the promises. The life you've always wanted is found in Him. The longing in your heart for the promises of God are found only in Jesus. He is the object of every beatitude. The living condition of every beatitude we could never fulfill on our own. In Jesus, we have received every spiritual blessing. Amen.

stephen murray