“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.”
Now when we turn our attention to the sermon on the Mount there are a few things we need to take notice of as we start.
First, we immediately need to notice the use of the term “blessed.”
“The Beatitudes” is a term derived from Latin beatitudo, it is not used in the English Bible. Technically it means “blessedness.” “Blessed” means “happy” or “fortunate” ( Psalm 1:1).
Second, we should notice the group Jesus is speaking to is essentially two groups—the disciples comprise the smaller group and the crowds the larger group.
These two groups are highlighted for us at the beginning and end of the sermon.
“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”
“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”
Third, we need to make note of the arrangement of the eight beatitudes.
Each begins with a proclamation of the new life and ends with a promise.
Last, we need to make note of each of the proclamations address aspects or conditions of the heart of a person; they are internal not external.
Now let’s walk through the list…
1. Blessed are the poor (πτωχοι) in spirit. (v.3)
This directly addresses a heart of poverty and humility before God.
2. Beatitude #2 – Blessed are those who mourn (πενθουντες). (v.4)
This mourning is related to spiritual poverty— a mourning over sin that rejects any rebellion against God and align with Him in grieving over the same things He grieves over.
3. Blessed are the meek/gentle. (v.5)
Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit that willing submits and commits to following God.
4. Blessed those who hunger & thirst for righteousness. (v.6)
This is a continual thirsting for the righteousness of Jesus.
5. Blessed are the merciful. (v.7)
We should be merciful to show gratitude to God for having already shown us mercy with more mercy to come.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
6. Blessed are the pure in heart. (v.8)
This characteristic is double sided—we should refuse to do what is wrong (against the Gospel) and embrace what is right.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers. (v.9)
This is not simply avoiding conflict but bringing reconciliation and peace where strife exists, patterning ourselves after Christ, our peacemaker.
8. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness. (v.10-12)
When you belong to Jesus and follow Jesus persecution will come but remember.
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
The beatitudes are first of all descriptions of Jesus Christ, then they describe what belongs to those who are members of the kingdom of God and possess the new life.
Jesus is the blessed one and in him we have all the treasures of the new life.
Sinclair Ferguson explains a powerful insight we must not miss—There is a flow to the sermon:
In the kingdom we are aware of our sin,…in our awareness we mourn,
…when we mourn our pride goes out of us, and (we become) the meek inherit.
The meek become hungry and thirsty for righteousness.
When we yearn for righteousness, we gain purity of sight to see God,
the God of peace, and when we experience that peace, we want to see that peace spread to God’s people and God’s world.