The New Testament book of Matthew is a great preview of Christ life and his interpretation of the Old Law. Or rather it is our foundation of a newer and more gracious version of the Old Law. I say this because throughout the book of Matthew we see red words more often than black words. The red words are supposed to be Christ speaking directly. And the black words are for other characters speaking or events happening. The focus of this article is to go through the first half of the book Matthew chapter 5 and gain a grounding sense of what Christ is expecting of us. There are nine qualities of the blessed that all the most righteous among us practice no matter what our circumstances are.
Matthew 5: 1-15
“5 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
I love how Christ explains the fruits of the spirit before he goes on too explain the evolution of the Old Law. There are some words in this passage that many of us are familiar with but might not understand through Christ’s perspective. The poor in spirit, then the mournful, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, and the ones who suffer persecution.
Blessed are the Poor
These qualities are simple and are the summation of the entire Old Law. Starting with “the poor in spirit”. I think of this in two different ways but generally the same concept. The first thought that comes to mind is the person or people who are literally poor and are unfortunately beggars. They are in a constant state of need. They lack the ability to provide the basic necessities for themselves. Society disregards them as slum but they are probably the most thankful, patient and forgiving people on the planet. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Their appearance and living circumstances do not seem blessed but inwardly they are made pure. Psalms 12:5. 1 Samuel 2:8
Blessed are the Mourners.
After the poor, we have the mourner. I think of this person as similar to the poor. The poor are typically sorrowful due to financial issues. A mourner however could be a poor, mediocre or rich person who seems to never have their emotional needs met. This can happen through lack of love, intimacy, death of family, lack of trust in people or working a terrible job. These emotional situations can make someone mournful though they have what they need to live. However Christ says blessed are they that mourn. Proverbs 29:2
Blessed are the meek. Meekness, meaning someone who is slow to anger, keeps to themselves. Generally are shy, soft and gentle. This is a character mostly associated with the feminine. Therefore ladies be proud of your natural meekness, it is your gift and the meek shall inherit the earth. Isaiah 11:4, 29:19.
In tough situations, when we are forced to fight for our lives. Sometimes we might suffer peer pressure to harm someone through humiliation. Sometimes we are put in situations where we are tempted to steel, cuss, ridicule, and hate others. As people professing Godliness, we must make an effort to encourage peace by not engaging in certain bad activities just because everyone else is doing it. And sometimes we ought to talk others out of doing bad things. Our goals should be to promote as much peace as possible according to Christ righteousness. Promoting peace can be difficult but we must at least try. The peacemakers are the children of The Highest. Psalms 34:14, 85:10, 119:165.
Hungry and Thirsty for The Word.
My personal favorite, blessed is the ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness. That sudden urge when all you wanted to know about is the bible. You eat, sleep and drink biblical truths and no one can take you away from it. In due time that person will be filled and satisfied. We can also see this as the ones who seeks the Lords face. Amos 8:11. John 4:13-14, John 6:35
Mercy, meaning an act of being gentle to someone who doesn’t necessarily deserve it. We all are in need of mercy at one point in our lives when we’ve done something to someone that we regret. We seek forgiveness and an easier punishment, we ask for mercy. Blessed are the ones who are not only able to show mercy but are more than happy to give it. Sometimes the person who obtains mercy becomes our most loyal friends or foes. They tend to repay the merciful with their own mercy and protection. Be merciful. 1 Chronicles 16:34, psalm 136. Proverbs 3:3
Blessed Are the Pure
About the pure in heart. Pure is someone who is not contaminated with the worldly functions, ideology, culture, standards mindset or activities. this person is either free from the normal “wicked” society or an outcast of it. Either way this person is pure. We may also think of someone who is naive, innocent, happy and young. I usually think of someone with a childlike freedom personality. These are appropriate interpretations of pure in heart and they shall see The Highest. 2 Peter 3: 1-3. James 3:17. 1 Timothy 5:22
All this sounds easy, simple and loving. Unfortunately the ones who practice these simple forms of righteousness tend to be treated badly from ridicule, exile and persecution. Persecution isn’t just being violently executed, it can also show up in different forms. For women, the feminine character of meekness is being constantly persecuted by modern society’s “need” for women to seem stronger than men. Unfortunately meekness is not considered strong and therefore the natural feminie character sufferers in the presence of the modern mentality.
Society for the most part makes it illegal to be poor. There are places where you can’t sleep in your car, camping restrictions in public places, then we have to pay to go camping. It’s a struggle for the poor man just to be poor these days. This is a persecution of the poor witch by putting restrictions on how you can be poor, a poor life is extra hard to live. Mark 4:16-17.
Nonetheless Christ speaks more about being brutally persecuted to death. These people were mentally strong enough to withstand death for their faith in christ. Your faith in Christ makes you an outcast and a menace to society. Why? If we understand Christ’s religion, he went against all of modern society and the Jews. His way of life taught that everyone else was somehow wicked. Most people found this offensive to the point of hatred. Even though we might end up getting persecuted if the masses find out that deep down inside, The Highest God’s religion is against everyone, we should be happy.
In some strange way this is a sign that we have been chosen to be a light unto the world. We are supposed to illuminate and reveal to everyone their wickedness whether they like it or not. We should be happy illuminating the minds, hearts and spirits of the people even when they seek to kill us. Even in a situation where your life is on the line, always choose peace, meekness, purity and mercy. Some of us might mourn, or become poor and suffer persecution; we must always choose spiritual righteousness. Romans 8: 35-39