“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”Matthew 5:1–12, ESV
For years Christians have taught the Beatitudes as a list of character traits that will bring blessing into your life if you perform them. And although that may be true, I believe Jesus is emphasizing a much stronger point in this passage.
Jesus has just begun His earthly ministry by healing the sick and casting out demons (Matthew 4:23-25) and had gotten pretty popular. There is now a huge crowd following him as well as some disciples.
Jesus separates himself from this big crowd and goes up the mountain. The crowd is not what he wants and not what is going to change the status quo. He is looking for people that will be resolved to share the gospel even when times get tough.
“Imagine how the crowd’s attention was riveted on Jesus when He uttered His first word: “Blessed.” (The Latin word for blessed is beatus, and from this comes the word beatitude.) This was a powerful word to those who heard Jesus that day. To them, it meant “divine joy and perfect happiness.” The word was not used for humans; it described the kind of joy experienced only by the gods or the dead. “Blessed” implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.”Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 21). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
“To recieve the “beatus” blessings you must be a warrior for the kingdom.” @pastorsizemore | billsizemore.blogTweet
Jesus lists out nine characteristics needed to bring His kingdom’s influence here on Earth. Those that are willing to answer this call would receive a divine blessing for their sacrifice. So it is today! The “beatus” blessing is still offered to those that will answer the call to build God’s Kingdom influence here on Earth.
9 Characteristics of Kingdom Warriors
- Humble (care more for others than yourself)
- Willing to suffer loss (committed)
- Meek (power under self-control)
- Spiritually Motivated (caring more for spiritual things than physical things)
- Merciful (loving your enemies)
- Kingdom-focused (mindset on heavenly things)
- Gospel-Centered (bring peace to situations through the gospel)
- Righteous (living set apart unto God)
- Resilient (able to withstand the slander and lies of the wicked).
Now, we get a clear picture of what Jesus was asking of his disciples. These concepts will be expanded throughout the rest of His ministry as he illustrates the sacrifice through the cross. After looking through the list above, take a few minutes and answer the questions below.
Which one of these traits do you feel you excel at the most?
Which one of these traits do you feel you need to work on the most?
What is one thing you can do this week to improve your salt and light in this world?
This blog was dirived from the Sermon entitled The Blessed Struggle by Bill Sizemore. If you would like to watch the message in its entirety Click Here.