Matthew 5 – What are the Beatitudes?

Published On: 20 de September de 2023Categories: Bible Study

Blessed are the poor in spirit , for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaims: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3). This beatitude teaches us that true humility before God is a highly valued virtue in the Kingdom of Heaven. Being “poor in spirit” implies recognizing our complete dependence on God, our inability to achieve salvation on our own merits. It is, in fact, humility that opens the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven for us.

The psalmist David, in Psalm 51:17 , expresses this heart attitude when he cries: “Sacrifices pleasing to God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, you will not despise it, O God.” These words reinforce the idea that God values ​​contrition and spiritual humility. Being “poor in spirit” does not mean being devoid of self-esteem or self-worth, but rather recognizing our desperate need for God, our state of total dependence on Him.

A related passage that illustrates the importance of humility is James 4:6: “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Here we see the divine promise that humility is the key to accessing God’s abundant grace. It is when we recognize our spiritual lack, our insufficiency, that God extends His hand of grace to elevate us. Therefore, being “poor in spirit” not only puts us on the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, but also connects us with God’s infinite grace, making us recipients of his divine benevolence.

The depth of this bliss goes beyond mere words; it challenges us to rethink our approach to God. It is an invitation to strip ourselves of any spiritual pride, any confidence in our own merits, and throw ourselves completely upon God’s mercy and grace. In a world that often values ​​self-reliance and independence, this beatitude reminds us that our true spiritual wealth is found in humility, in the awareness of our constant need for God, and in the trust that He is our only sustainer.

The blessedness of the “poor in spirit” is a call to inner transformation, a revolution of the heart that allows us to experience the Kingdom of Heaven here and now as we surrender to God’s sovereignty and unconditional love. It is a humility that elevates us, a dependence that frees us, and it is truly an unparalleled spiritual treasure. May we, with sincerity, embrace this humility and thus inherit the Kingdom of Heaven and all the plenitude it offers.

Blessed are those who mourn , for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

The second beatitude proclaims: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4) . This beatitude leads us to reflect on the importance of compassion and repentance. Crying is not only an expression of sadness, but also of deep regret for our sins and the evils of the world. As we mourn our sins and humanity’s pain, we find comfort in God’s grace and forgiveness.

The psalmist David, in several Psalms, shows us the powerful example of someone who cried deeply for his sins, as in Psalm 51, a psalm of repentance. David understood the gravity of his transgressions and shed sincere tears before God. This attitude of brokenness and contrition is the first step to finding divine comfort.

Throughout Scripture, God reveals His compassionate and merciful nature. In Isaiah 53:3-4 , prophesying about the Messiah, we read: “A man of sorrows and acquainted with sufferings; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we made no account of him. Truly he hath borne our infirmities, and hath borne our sorrows.” Here we see how Jesus, the Messiah, identifies with human suffering and becomes the ultimate source of comfort.

This beatitude reminds us that we are not alone in our sorrows and afflictions. God, in His infinite compassion, is with us in every tear shed. He not only offers comfort for our pains, but also promises healing and restoration of the wounds of the heart. Crying over our sins leads us to seek forgiveness and inner transformation, while crying over the world’s afflictions motivates us to act in love and compassion to alleviate the suffering of others.

Therefore, the blessedness of those who mourn is a call to empathy and contrition. It is an invitation to recognize the reality of sin in our lives and in the world around us, and at the same time, trust in the divine comfort offered to us. We find comfort not only in the promise of forgiveness, but also in the assurance that God is present in our sorrows, guiding us into a deeper relationship with Him and empowering us to be instruments of His grace and love in the world. May we therefore embrace the blessedness of those who mourn as an opportunity for spiritual growth and to share God’s compassion with those who suffer.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

The third beatitude proclaims: “ Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) . Meekness here is not weakness, but rather a willingness to submit to God’s will, regardless of circumstances. The meek trust that God is the Sovereign who rules over all things and therefore find rest and contentment in his will.

Jesus, our model of gentleness, stated in Matthew 11:29 , “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls.” These words of Jesus reveal that meekness is not passivity, but rather an attitude of heart that recognizes God’s authority over our lives. When we submit to the divine will, we find rest and peace for our souls.

In Psalms 37:11 we find an echo of the promise of blessedness: “But the meek will inherit the earth, and they will enjoy complete peace.” This emphasizes that meekness results in an eternal inheritance and peace that passes all understanding. The meek do not fight to impose their will, but trust that God is the giver of all good things and that His promised inheritance will not fail.

Being meek does not mean the absence of strength, but rather the exercise of strength under divine control. It is the ability to endure trials and adversities with serenity, knowing that God is in control and that everything works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Meekness enables us to face life’s difficulties with faith and confidence.

Therefore, the blessedness of the meek challenges us to abandon arrogance, pride and self-sufficiency, embracing humility and submission to the will of God. It teaches us to trust that God is our provider and defender, and that as we submit to his will, we find an eternal inheritance and a peace that transcends circumstances. May we, therefore, seek gentleness in our spiritual journey, trusting God in all situations and finding contentment in his sovereignty.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

The fourth beatitude proclaims: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). This beatitude encourages us to actively seek God’s justice, live by his principles, and strive for justice in our world.

Jesus, in His earthly life, was a living example of this search for justice. He confronted injustice, proclaimed the principles of God’s Kingdom, and showed compassion for the marginalized. In Matthew 23:23 , He rebuked the religious leaders of the day, saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you tithe mint and dill and cummin and have neglected the most important precepts of the Law: justice, mercy and faith.”

Isaiah 1:17 urges us to “learn to do good; seek what is fair; help the oppressed; do justice to the orphan; take care of the cause of the widows.” This passage from the Old Testament reinforces the importance of justice as an integral part of God’s will. The pursuit of righteousness is not just an outward action, but a heart attitude that reflects the character of God.

The hunger and thirst for righteousness mentioned in this beatitude is not a superficial search, but a deep and constant longing for divine righteousness. It is a burning desire to see the values ​​of the Kingdom of God established in society and in personal life. Those who have this hunger and thirst are driven to act in accordance with justice, to defend the oppressed and to seek the common good.

This beatitude also promises that those who seek righteousness will be satisfied. This means that God will satisfy this quest with His own justice and righteousness. Matthew 6:33 reminds us: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When we prioritize seeking God’s justice, He takes care of our needs.

Therefore, the blessedness of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness challenges us not to be indifferent to matters of righteousness, but to actively strive to live according to God’s principles and promote righteousness wherever we are. She reminds us that justice is not just an abstract idea, but a tangible expression of God’s love and will in our lives and in the world. May we, therefore, continue to seek God’s righteousness with zeal and passion, trusting that we will be satiated with His righteousness and peace.

Blessed are the merciful , for they will obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

The fifth beatitude proclaims: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7) . This beatitude calls us to show compassion and forgiveness toward others, just as God has mercy on us.

The most sublime example of mercy is the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. In Romans 5:8 we read, “But God proves his love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the essence of divine mercy, where God, in His infinite grace, has offered forgiveness and reconciliation to us despite our sins.

In Luke 6:36, Jesus exhorts us to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful. This means we should follow God’s example by extending grace and compassion to others, even when they don’t deserve it. Mercy is not based on merit, but is an act of selfless love.

The blessedness of the merciful reminds us that mercy is a two-way street. When we show mercy to others, we are fulfilling Jesus’ command and, in return, we are promised divine mercy. Matthew 6:14 warns us: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Mercy is a profound link between our attitude toward others and God’s response in our lives.

Being merciful does not mean ignoring sin, but forgiving and seeking restoration for those who have erred. It is an act of compassion that seeks healing and reconciliation. By showing mercy, we reflect God’s love and help build healthy relationships and a more compassionate society.

Therefore, the blessedness of the merciful challenges us to incorporate mercy into our daily lives, to forgive as we have been forgiven, and to extend compassion to those in need. She reminds us that mercy is a vital part of the Christian path and that by showing mercy to others, we experience the richness of God’s mercy in our own lives. May we be channels of divine mercy in this world, reflecting God’s love in all our interactions and helping to build a more welcoming and grace-filled place for everyone.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)

The sixth beatitude tells us: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8) . This beatitude emphasizes the importance of inner purity, sincerity, and the absence of malicious intentions. Those who keep their hearts pure seek presence and communion with God.

In Psalm 24:3-4 , we read: “Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord, or who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” These words from Psalm 24 highlight the need for purity of heart to draw closer to God and establish communion with Him. Purity is not limited to external appearance, but is a condition of the heart that reflects a constant search for holiness.

Purity of heart implies living with sincerity and integrity, without hypocrisy. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day for their lack of purity of heart and hypocritical attitudes. In Matthew 23:27-28 , He says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of the bones of the dead and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

The pursuit of purity of heart is not an empty effort to appear pious, but a sincere desire to live a life that pleases God. It is an aspiration for a clear conscience, free from deception and selfish motives. The pure in heart not only seek to avoid outward sin, but also to purify their thoughts and intentions.

The promise contained in this beatitude is profound: “they will see God”. Purity of heart allows us to experience intimate communion with God, drawing us closer to Him in worship and prayer. In 1 John 3:2 , we read: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we will be. But we know that when he appears, we will be like him; because we shall see it as it is.” The pure in heart are promised to see God not only in eternity, but also in moments of worship and deep spiritual communion.

Therefore, the blessedness of the pure in heart challenges us to seek inner purity, sincerity, and integrity in our daily lives. She reminds us that purity is not just a matter of external behavior, but of an internal transformation that brings us closer to God. May we constantly seek purity of heart, purifying our thoughts and intentions, so that we can enjoy precious communion with God and live according to his will.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

The seventh beatitude proclaims: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9) . This beatitude calls us to be agents of peace and reconciliation in a world marked by conflict and division. Peacemakers not only avoid discord but also actively work to promote unity and harmony.

In Romans 12:18 , Paul exhorts us to “ if possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.” This highlights the responsibility we have to seek peace in our relationships and communities. Peacemakers do not simply avoid conflict, but actively seek to build bridges of understanding and reconciliation.

Jesus, as the Prince of Peace, is the ultimate example of a peacemaker. He brought reconciliation between God and man through His sacrifice on the cross. In Ephesians 2:14 , Paul writes about Jesus, saying, “For he is our peace, who has made the two one; and having broken down the wall of separation that was in the middle.” Jesus removed the barrier of separation and brought us peace with God.

The blessedness of the peacemakers also reminds us that we are called to be children of God. When we promote peace and reconciliation, we reflect the character of our heavenly Father. In James 3:18 , we read: “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, to those who practice peace.” Peacemakers not only receive peace from God, but they also sow peace wherever they go.

Furthermore, being called “children of God” implies sharing in the divine nature, including the willingness to promote peace and justice. As children of God, we are called to follow Jesus’ example and actively seek peace, even in challenging situations.

Therefore, the blessedness of the peacemakers challenges us to not just avoid conflict, but to be peacebuilders. She reminds us that peace is not just the absence of war, but the presence of justice and reconciliation. May we be agents of peace in our homes, communities, and the world, reflecting the image of our heavenly Father as peacemakers committed to unity and harmony.

Blessed are those persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

The eighth and final beatitude proclaims: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). This beatitude reminds us that sometimes following God’s righteousness and principles can lead us to persecution and adversity. However, this persecution is not in vain, as it connects us more deeply with the Kingdom of God.

In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul warns us that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” This highlights that persecution is not an exception but an expectation for followers of Christ. Those who commit themselves to divine justice will often face resistance and hostility from the world.

The blessedness of those persecuted for the sake of righteousness reminds us that fidelity to God and His principles is more important than the approval of men. Jesus himself faced intense persecution for preaching the truth and living righteously. In John 15:20, He told His disciples, “Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

The promise contained in this beatitude is precious: “theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”. This means that those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness will not only inherit the Kingdom of God, but they already have a share in that Kingdom here and now. Persecution does not keep God’s children from His Kingdom, but rather connects them more deeply with His grace and power.

Being persecuted for the sake of justice is not an easy situation, but it is a demonstration of courage and fidelity. Those who face persecution for the love of God and justice are called blessed because they are willing to pay the price for their faith and convictions. They are living examples of commitment to God and his will.

Therefore, the blessedness of those persecuted for the sake of righteousness challenges us to maintain our faithfulness to God, even in the face of opposition and persecution. It reminds us that the true reward is belonging to the Kingdom of God, and that persecution cannot separate us from His love and purpose. May we find courage in the divine promise and continue to seek justice, regardless of the difficulties that may arise, trusting that theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

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Written by : Ministério Veredas Do IDE

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