Summary: The beatitudes are the highest Life values ever once can attain. Try out in your personal life with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Text: Mathew 5:1-12
Topic: Beatitudes and Blessings
Jesus Selected men who would be his followers. He wanted to instruct his helpers and assistants to do their work intellectually, efficiently, so set the guidelines for them to follow as rules and regulations. It is also known as ‘The ordination address of the twelve’. ‘The manifesto of the King’, ‘The Magna Charta of the KOG’ and ‘The Compendium of Christ’s Doctrine’ are few other titles given by early fathers and commentators.
vv.1-2 Sat down and Open his mouth to speak:
Official teachers of the Jewish Rabbi had to sit and teach, called as Professor’s Chair. The world’s largest religious leader Pope speaks from ‘ex cathedra’.
Opening mouth is solemn dignified utterance. Jesus opened his heart and mind to the men who were to be his righthand. It is like a service agreement if you want to serve in the company of Jesus. In OT God expected a covenantal relationship or sacred agreement between his subjects, devotees and followers or worshippers ex., between Abraham and God, Jacob and God, and Solomon and God. Best was between God and Israel ‘I am holy therefore you be holy’. Jesus habitually and continually taught them while he was on the earth.
Today in our context, the pulpit is so sacred to stand and speak. Misusing the pulpit is misusing God and his name in vain. When Herod had misused the pulpit. He was struck for his ungodly utterances (Acts12:21-23). Therefore, we are warned that not many of you become teachers or preachers (James3:1).
vv.3-10 Beatitudes are not simple sentences but exclamations!!
Here, nine beatitudes are put together by Jesus as life principles for his disciples. All of these are starting with “O the blessedness …”. The blessedness is not future glory but present and very much existing in our day today life. Jesus spoke all these words in Aramaic not in Greek. But the writers wrote it in Greek. The word used for blessedness in Greek is “Makarios”.
The Greeks used this word as Cyprus he Makaria (the Happy isle). Cyprus was so lovely, so rich, so fertile island. Good climate, such flowers, fruits and trees, minerals, such natural resources that it contained within itself were enough for perfect happiness. Greek Men never wanted to go beyond Cyprus. The joy was serene, unattainable, self-contained and independent of all the chances and changes of life. Always same as that of 1st and 31st day of the month.
Whereas the human happiness is always dependent of the chances and changes of Life. The word Hap means Chance. But blessedness is beyond all these. Jn. 16:22 says ‘No one can remove the joy what I give you’.
Jesus speaks beatitudes which takes you through the joy and sorrow, gain and loss, pain and grief, powerless or powerful, tears or overwhelms. This beatitude cannot be changed by good health or sickness, by fortune or misfortune, by pain or pleasure, always the same.
Why these beatitudes are listed in the teachings of Jesus at the beginning itself? He taught on (1) Poor in Spirit, (2) mourning, (3) being meek, (4) having hunger and thirst for righteousness, (5) being merciful, (6) pure in heart, (7) peacemakers, (8) Suffers for righteousness and (9) sufferers for the sake of Gospel.
v.3. Poor: Greek uses two words as Penes and Ptochos. Penes describes a man who has to work for his living i.e., autodiakonos (man serves his own needs with his own hands) and has nothing superfluous. Ptochos describes total and miserable poverty. Now Jesus used in his teaching saying blessed is the man who is penes and ptochos.
Whereas the Hebrew words for poor are ’ani and ebion. Poor had gone through four stages: poor has no influence or power, no help or prestige. Therefore, becomes downtrodden and oppressed. Therefore, he has no earthly resources, hence he puts his trust in the Lord (Psalms 34:6, 35:10, 72:4, 107:41). But Jesus was not speaking on economical poverty. If he speaks then the countries or cities which are living in poverty are blessed. Jesus never said that ‘blessed are the city which has more slums. But Jesus taught them in spite of having all the economic stability, political power if you are poor in spirit, if you have complete trust in God, then you are a Blessed person. Then you will become the citizen of the KOH.
v.4 Mourn: Mourning brings men and God so dear and near to one another. Intensely sorry for the own sin and the sin of others are more important. That leads to Calvary, that leads to salvation and comforts (Psalms 51:17).
Lord Shaftesbury, a social reformer dedicated caring for others. He carried the coffin box (hand-borrow) to avoid being ill-treated and dishonoured by drunkards and irresponsible persons.
v.5. Meek (Gk. praus) is an ethical word. Meek understood by Aristotle as ‘praotes’ (character between orgilotes (excessive anger) and ‘aorgesia’ (excessive anger less).