Blessed are the...What? Understanding the Beautitudes


The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-10, may be Jesus' most well-known portion of teaching, as well as his most misunderstood portion of teaching!
Matthew 5:3-10
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Beatitudes serve as an introduction to the "The Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5-7) which is an announcement of good news that something is starting to happen in the world, namely, the Kingdom of God. In these 8 poetic and rhythmic verses, Jesus is saying that the world is being made new, and that this new way is being inaugurated through and in Him.

So, the beatitudes are not descriptions or techniques telling us how to obtain “blessing” by applying the proper procedures to our lives - they are not mechanical formulas for getting what we want.

Rather, as N.T. Wright has said,
They are a summons to live in the present in the way that will make sense in God’s promised future; because that future has arrived in the present of Jesus of Nazareth. It may seem upside down, but we are called to believe, with great daring, that it is in fact the right way up.