John 3:16 For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Beatitudes, Our Instructions
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The Beatitudes, Our Instructions from Jesus Christ
BEATITUDES A term that comes from the Latin word beatitudo; it is not used in the English Bible.
Technically it means “blessedness” as described in the Old and New Testament. To be “blessed” means
that one has been given a gift or a kindness by God.
The phrase “happy is,” or “blessed is,” appears often in the book of Psalms (used 26 times) and in Proverbs (8 times). It is used 10 times in the other books of the Old Testament and 13 times in the Apocrypha.
These Beatitudes describe the person who is righteous, someone who has faith and hope in God.
They are signs of a life lived in relation God’s forgiveness, love, and favor. These blessings apply to the whole person, whether in family
life, in worship, in public life, or in one’s inner self.
The blessed person is in touch with the fruitfulness of the Creator himself. He or she lives a fulfilled life, life as God intended it to be lived. In the New Testament, “blessing” is
mentioned seven times in the book of Revelation, three times in the Epistle to the Romans, and once in John’s Gospel.
The idea appears so often in Matthew and Luke that the term “Beatitudes” was invented to describe the way the concept is used in these books.
There are interesting contrasts between Luke’s “sermon on the plain” (Luke 6:20-23) and Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:3-12), which are so similar
that many scholars believe them to be reports of the same event. In Luke, Jesus pronounces blessings on several different kinds of people immediately
after he selects the 12 disciples (Luke 6:12-16).
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast
out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their
fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Yet the sermon is addressed to the crowd and speaks of the God’s kingdom as a great reversal, in which human social conditions will be
turned upside-down: the poor will be rich, etc.
So Luke balances four blessings with four woes (“Woe to you who are rich,” etc.) to add to this sense of contrast. He uses the future tense to suggest that this is what will happen
when the kingdom of God has come. In Matthew, the advent of the kingdom has already begun—Jesus uses the present tense. He talks mainly to the
Two of his statements set the agenda for his speech.
- First, he has not come to destroy but to fulfill the law of Moses (Matthew 5:17).
- Second, it is necessary to have a kind of righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (5:20).
So these Beatitudes are more concerned with the interior life of the disciples.
These eight Beatitudes describe the qualities of people who belong to Christ’s kingdom and who therefore reflect Christ’s own life. The people and situations that Jesus describes may seem pitiable by human standards, but because of God’s presence in their lives, they are blessed and should be imitated.
The Beatitudes 2 This is what he taught them:
3 God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.
6 God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full.
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers.
12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted,too.
Teaching about Salt and Light
13 You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown
out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.
15 Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Teaching about the Law
17 Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to
18 I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s law will remain until its purpose is
19 So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But
anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
20 But I warn you—unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom
of Heaven at all!
Teaching about Anger
21 You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’
22 But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being
brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
23 So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone
has something against you,
24 leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
25 Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and
thrown in jail.
26 I assure you that you won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
Teaching about Adultery
27 You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not commit adultery.’
28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 So if your eye—even if it is your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one
part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And if your hand—even if it is your stronger hand —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to
lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Teaching about Divorce
31 You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a letter
32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who
marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Teaching about Vows
33 Again, you have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you
have made to the Lord.’
34 But I say, don’t make any vows! If you say, ‘By heaven’ it is a sacred vow because heaven is God’s throne.
35 And if you say, ‘By the earth’ it is a sacred vow because the earth is his footstool. And don’t swear, ‘By Jerusalem’ for Jerusalem is the
city of the great King.
36 Don’t even swear, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black.
37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough. To strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something is wrong.
Teaching about Revenge
38 You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did
39 But I say, don’t resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too.
40 If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.
41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.
42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.
44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the
good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.
46 If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.
47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
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