Blessed (gr. makarioi) — blessed, with an internal emphasis, happy (external blessing – Mt. 25:34)
- OT – offer of blessing but warning of curse.
- NT – no warning of curse. The New Covenant is greater than the Old because it is effective. It will transform and change. No curse need be threatened. Blessings alone are promised!
is the kingdom (v. 3, 10) — Present tense. The kingdom of heaven begins when Christ rules in the hearts of His followers.
Shall be... (v. 4-9) — Future tense. Fulfillment in part right now, but complete fulfillment in the eschaton, the end.
1. the poor in spirit — The word for poor comes from the word which means to crouch or to cringe, to shrink with fear, usually in association with utter destitution, poverty, and therefore begging.
2. those who mourn — Those who lament over their spiritual lack, and recognize their sickness and their need for the Lord. They mourn not only for their own sin, but for the sin of the world around them. (2 Cor. 7:10)
“Confession is one thing, contrition is another.”
(John Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 41)
3. the meek — Those who have a proper perspective of themselves because of poverty in spirit and resulting mourning; they are gentle to those around them, they treat others as they have been treated. We have lost both the right and the material to boast.
4. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — Progressive present, which could be properly translated as “those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness."
We need God’s righteousness to fill our lives, because we lack righteousness altogether.
5. the merciful — When we are poor, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty, we will be merciful with others, who—knowingly or not—are in the same spiritual condition as we are. We must recognize that God has been extremely merciful to us, and share that mercy with all, just as God has done. (Titus 3:3)
6. the pure in heart — The idea of purity is that of being undivided, unmixed, focused on only God. Soren Kierkegaard entitled his book about spiritual preparation Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, which is a fitting picture of the biblical concept of purity. (James 4:8)
7. the peacemakers — We are to be like Jesus Christ, who has made peace on the cross. We are not only to receive peace, but actively pursue peace. (Heb. 12:14, 2 Cor. 5:18)
The Result of truly following Christ is persecution (v. 10-12). Notice it is blessed when we suffer for Jesus’ sake. It is only for His sake when we are following Him. People will attack what they don’t understand. We are no longer of this world, so they will reject us like they rejected Jesus. When they reject us, we are to “jump and rejoice” because of our reward in heaven, for we are being likened to the prophets.
7 character traits—a symbol of complete Christian character.