Matthew 5:3-5 (The Beatitudes, Part 1)

Mat 5:3          What is meant by “blessed” in this and the following verses?  Note: “blessed” in English has two meanings that correspond to two different Greek words: to be well spoken of, and to be happy or fortunate; the Greek word for the latter (makarios) is what is used here.  What does it mean to be poor?  Note: the Greek word refers to those who are poor in the world’s goods, such as Lazarus and the poor widow with only a mite.  What does it mean to be poor in spirit?  Do those who are poor in spirit have a high or a low estimation of their own ability to save themselves?  Is there a connection between being poor and being poor in spirit?  Cf. Luk 6:20.  Why did Jesus say that those who are poor or poor in spirit are more blessed (happy or fortunate) than those who are rich?  See also Mat 19:23-24, Luk 4:18, 6:24, Jam 1:9-11, 5:1-3.  Is it significant that Jesus said “theirs is (present tense) the kingdom of heaven”?  Cf. Mat 19:14.  What insight does this give us into the nature of the kingdom of heaven, and why those who are poor or poor in spirit are more disposed to believe the gospel and enter Christ’s kingdom than those who are rich?  Think: do those who are rich in the world’s goods tend to develop the same carefree trust in their heavenly Father that young children—who don’t even know what their needs are—have for their parents to supply their every need?  Do those who are rich in the world’s goods tend to have a high or a low estimation of what their own needs are, and in their own ability to provide for their needs?  With what cares do they concern themselves that those who are poor do not even know to concern themselves?  As they concern themselves with these things, do they tend to develop the same relationship with their heavenly Father that young children who have no such concerns do with their parents?  Imagine a young child who supposed he knew better than his own parents what his needs were and forsook their care to provide for his needs as he understood them: how would his relationship to his parents differ from that of other children to their parents?

Mat 5:4          Why does Jesus say that those who mourn are blessed?  Is it possible to provide comfort or encouragement when there is no sense of affliction and hence cause for mourning?  Over what primary affliction would God have people mourn?  See 1Co 5:2, 2Co 7:6-10, Jam 4:8-10.  Is it significant that the Holy Spirit who convicts the world in regard to sin (Joh 16:8) was also referred to by Jesus as the Comforter (Helper, Encourager, lit. Paraclete, related to the same Greek word used here; see Joh 14:16,26, 15:26, 16:7)?  To whom did the prophets foretell the gospel would provide comfort?  See Isa 61:1-3.  Read Luk 6:21,24-25 and 16:19,25; do you think those who suffer physical affliction in the world are more or less inclined to believe the gospel and receive the comfort Jesus came to give than those who are “rich”, “well-fed”, “laugh”, and “gaily live in splendor every day” enjoying the “good things” in this life?  What does this teach us about who our focus should be upon as we seek to proclaim the hope of the gospel with its promise of comfort?  Again, is it possible to provide comfort or encouragement when there is no sense of affliction and hence cause for mourning?  What insight does this give us into why so many in America today have such little interest in the gospel and its hope of eternal life?

Mat 5:5          What does it mean to be gentle?  See the NASB text note and cf. Mat 11:29, 21:5, and 1Pe 3:4 for the other New Testament uses of this word, as well as Num 12:3.  Does this describe the disposition of those whom the world makes out to be great?  What is the great strength of a meek and lowly demeanor?  See Psa 118:6, Jer 20:11, Rom 8:31.  Read Job 24:4, Psa 147:6, 149:4, Isa 26:6, and Zep 3:12 where the Greek word for “gentle” used here translates a Hebrew word meaning poor, afflicted, humble, lowly, needy; why are those who are oppressed and downtrodden in the eyes of the world more apt to have the gentle and humble disposition described here?  See Rev 3:17.  Why does Jesus say in this verse that such are blessed?  What does it mean that they shall inherit the earth?  See Psa 37:11 and its context of Psa 37:1-22 from which this is a direct quote.  When the present heavens and earth pass away (2Pe 3:10) and God makes all things new (Rev 21:5) and creates new heavens and a new earth (Isa 65:17,  Rev 21:1) wherein righteousness dwells (2Pe 3:13) who will inhabit it: those who are great in the eyes of this present world, or those who are poor, afflicted, meek, lowly, humble and needy in this present world?

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