Matthew 5:3-12 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Picking up at verse 7, God promises mercy to the merciful. Elsewhere in this sermon Jesus teaches that forgiven people forgive. (Matthew 6:14-15) and that people who are loved by God show love to others (Matthew 5:43-48). In fact a consistent principle of his teaching is that your attitude toward others must imitate God’s attitude toward you. So if you wish to experience God’s mercy, learn how to be humbly merciful toward others. Is there anyone in your world that you struggle to have a merciful, kind and compassionate attitude toward?
In verse 8 Jesus promises that the pure in heart will see God. This is almost a direct quote of Psalm 24:3-5. “Purity of heart,” Soren Kirkegaard said, “is to will one thing.” In other words God promises that if our hearts are fully devoted to seeking him, to the exclusion of all other things, we will certainly find what we seek (see Jeremiah 29:13 and Matthew 6:33).
My One Thing – Rich Mullins
In verse 9 Jesus turns these blessings even more fully outward, promising that those who are peacemakers will be called Sons of God. The Greek word for peacemaker is ‘I’ve been reading some debates among leading theologians and pastors of our day, and one in particular, Tim Keller, is characterized by all camps as being ‘irenic,’ that is aiming at peace. It’s not that he doesn’t strongly believe the truth, nor that he is not himself fully devoted to God, but that he seeks to bring God’s word to bear on a debate in a way that also shows God’s hear of mercy and love. Such people will be recognized as Sons of God and disciples of Jesus (John 13:34-35).
Finally, in verses 10 to 12 Jesus blesses those who are persecuted. Even in our culture Christians are becoming accustomed to having all kinds of evil things said about us, and all kinds of accusations made against us simply because we are trying to follow Jesus. Not that we do that without fault, but the culture and even individuals in the culture are quite willing to amplify our faults and ignore our virtues so that they can portray us as evil in the sight of others. But these, and even worse things, Jesus says are to be expected when people are really rejecting God. We are to rejoice that we are counted as standing on God’s side when we receive persecution.