The Beatitudes describe traits that are the heart of the Christian way of life. They are characteristics we should bury deep within our souls. If we are living by the Beatitudes, then we will no longer be like the chameleon who easily blends in with its surroundings. Pursuit of living a godly lifestyle will result in standing out from those who live by the world’s standards.
Living a God-pleasing lifestyle will inevitably bring some hardship. Being different in a godly way will bring persecution.
In some areas of the world, following Jesus carries the death penalty. For those of us who live in the Western world, persecution might result in some form of harassment at school or work, or being bullied.
How does persecution bring blessing? Why would Jesus honor those who experience this pain in the eighth Beatitude? Who will undergo persecution and what is His promise to those who undergo this “honor”?
I wonder what went through the minds of Jesus’ disciples when Jesus shared this beatitude. For these collection of truths, which we know as the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, seems to go against society’s way of thinking and living. Jesus, however, was not directing these teachings to the general population, but rather to His closest friends. His teaching aimsto prepare His followers for His kingdom. Living out these truths will result in a lifestyle radically different from the world’s.
We usually attribute “blessed” to someone who
has acquired wealth, good health, power, or prestige. But Jesus challenges our
thinking as He calls some people “blessed” who appear quite the opposite. How
exactly is the person who mourns blessed? Mourning seems to depict images of
funerals and suffering. It’s not a natural thing to view oneself as blessed
when struggling, resulting in a bucket of tears, red puffy eyes, and a burdened
Although blessed usually means “happy” in the
Bible, the context of Matthew 5 seems to convey more of “an enviable state”.
Jesus is distinguishing the world’s image of happiness with true blessedness—spiritual
riches—which only comes from a right relationship with God.
GotQuestons.org notes: The term mourn means “to
experience deep grief.” In keeping with His theme of spiritual blessedness,
Jesus seems to indicate that this mourning is due to grief over sin. The people
who agree with God about the evil of their own hearts can attain an
“enviable state of blessedness,” due to the comfort they receive from
communion with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 2 Corinthians 1:4). The Spirit comforts those who are honest about their own sin and humble enough to ask for forgiveness and healing. Deep repentance requires deep conviction that comes from deep brokenness. Those who hide their sin or try to justify it before God can never know the comfort that comes from a pure heart, as Jesus talks about in Matthew 5:8 (cf. Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 57:15). This is the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.