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What Are the Beatitudes?

Alexandra Glynn | The Voice of Zion February 2024 - Round the Table Article --

The word “Beatitudes” comes from a Latin root meaning “blessed,” and this is why the verses in Matthew 5:3–12 are called the Beatitudes. The things our flesh considers blessings are not the same as the things God calls blessed. For example, our flesh does not like torment and persecution, and yet in the Beatitudes we read that God considers these to be blessings. Proverbs 10:22 reminds us that “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” In Philippians 1:12 we read how things intended as persecution turned into blessings. We can also recall how Balaam’s curses were blessings in Numbers, chapters 22 to 24.

Sometimes one reads in the Bible sentence after sentence of blessing. For example, Deuteronomy 28, which Joshua is said to have also repeated (Josh. 8:34). The Psalms also begin with describing what it is to be blessed (Ps. 1). In Psalm 68:19, the Psalmist says God weighs us down with blessings constantly being poured out on us from His rich hands. How has your life been blessed?

May God always bless us and keep us and make His face shine upon us! 

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

Martin Pylvainen

At a time God ordained, Jesus began His public ministry. Not all listeners were pleased when Jesus announced what He was called to do (Luke 4:18).

Jesus began preaching and healing people. As John the Baptist preached before Him, His message was one of repentance: “Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). Jesus spoke about the need for an inner righteousness through personal repentance and hearing the gospel.

Word of Jesus’ ministry spread, and soon great crowds of people followed Jesus, waiting to hear Him speak. Matthew 5:1 tells of this first great sermon: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them.”

With this teaching, the old way of righteousness is turned on its head. Jesus begins this sermon with nine verses we know as the Beatitudes. He speaks of those being blessed or happy in a different way, a way contrary to human understanding. The blessings of believers were not wealth or authority and position among one’s community. Instead, Jesus spoke of the trials, weakness and shortcomings one has – but is yet blessed through the redemption work of Christ. The poor and hungry aren’t blessed because of these trials; they have joy and peace in the Holy Spirit and receive comfort and strength from the gospel of the kingdom.

The Sermon on the Mount then describes how the law cannot be fulfilled by humankind, and then it tells of our duty to our neighbor. It instructs on giving of alms, prayer and fasting. It speaks about our relation to money and trusting God in our daily life. It ends with a warning about false prophets. 

Matthew (7:28,29) tells us the reaction to this sermon: “When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” 

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