By LOU TISCIONE
Matthew 5:3-12 records the eight “Beatitudes” that are the introduction of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
The name is taken from the word repeated nine times, “blessed.” The eighth Beatitude that concerns persecution is verses 10- 12.
The following is a closer look at the first four beatitudes. The first task in applying the beatitudes is to know the meaning of the repeated word, blessed. Blessed is a descriptive adjective of the one behaving as stated. The meaning includes those who are fortunate, happy, having a deep and profound spiritual well-being.
Jesus applied this word to eight categories of behavior. It is important to observe the quality of those He had in mind. As you read each description of the blessed you see that you’re not reading about those who would be “stars” or celebrities in the eyes of the world. Yet the “blessed” have the kingdom of heaven. They are comforted.
They will inherit the Earth. They shall be satisfied. They shall receive mercy. They shall see God. They shall be called sons of God. They have the kingdom of heaven and they have the joy of being in the company of the Prophets of old who were likewise persecuted. In every case Jesus described the citizens of the kingdom as opposite of those who are elevated by the world.
The first Beatitude is a key for understanding the rest. “Blessed are the poor in sprit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
“Poor” was used in connection with “spirit.” The connection makes it clear that Jesus was not referring to those who were financially poor. Spirit in this context refers to the motivations, desires and the will of a man. To be poor in spirit is to be empty of self-will and to desire God and the things of God as necessities of life. The poor in spirit know that they are unable to do anything apart from Jesus. The poor in spirit are those who have come to know their rightful place before the Creator. The poor in spirit are truly humble people.