3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The Beatitudes are an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount and are actually a summary. The word Beatitude comes from the Latin beatitudo/beatus (Wilkins). This is because of the word which we translate ‘blessed’. In each beatitude we have reassurance for those within the Kingdom of God. This is emphasized by an ‘inclusio’. An inclusio is a repeated word or concept at the beginning and end of a section. ‘…theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’ is such a phrase. This list is not an entry requirement to get into the Kingdom, but it is the kind of life reflected in those of the Kingdom.
- Those in the Kingdom of Heaven realise that none of their personal attributes or possessions is of real worth.
- Those in the Kingdom of Heaven see the corruption of sin in their own lives and in the world around them and they are grief stricken.
- Those in the Kingdom of Heaven have little thought for themselves. They easily stand up for the Kingdom without worrying about themselves as too important or too insignificant.
- Those in the Kingdom of Heaven desire to live life as God designed it to be lived.
- Those who live in the Kingdom of God realise they are forgiven for horrific sin and so they easily extend mercy to others.
- Those in the Kingdom of God have their hearts changed by God.
- Those in the kingdom of God encourage unity and peace.
- Those in the kingdom of God will stand out because of their choices and lifestyle. People won’t like that.
Jesus reassures his immediate listeners with the assurance that if they move from the crowd of humanity to become his disciples they will be changed in these ways as they explore Jesus’ teaching. There are also rewards:
- They possess the Kingdom of Heaven.
- They receive comfort from God himself.
- The earth belongs to them.
- There is a wholeness and a fulness which will not elude them any longer.
- They will receive mercy from God and from others in the Kingdom.
- God will reveal himself to those in the Kingdom.
- God adopts those in the Kingdom and gives them an inheritance.
- What are the qualities of someone in the Kingdom of Heaven?
- Are these qualities someone must perform to enter the Kingdom?
- What is the purpose of listing these qualities?
- Do you exhibit the Beattitudes?
- What is the reward for those who exercise the Beattitudes?