What Beatitudes Mean

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The Blessings of the Beatitudes
Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash

Are Beatitudes Blessings?

Matthew 5 Beatitude

In 2013, I travelled to Israel with my mom and a group of Christians from Ontario.

We toured for 10 days and visited sites throughout Israel. On our fourth day, we stopped along the Sea of Galilee where it is believed that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

During His sermon, Jesus described the attitudes and actions that His followers should take. They are known as the Beatitudes and are recorded in the book of Matthew, chapter 5.

Each beatitude is intended to teach us how to live. As I read through them, I could see how most of the traits Jesus described would come with blessings. To hunger and thirst for righteousness (v. 6), to be merciful (v.7), to be pure in heart (v.8) and to be a peacemaker (v.9) seemed obvious to me that God would bless them.

However, I struggled with the first three beatitudes. To be poor in spirit (v.3), to mourn (v. 4) and to be meek (v.5) did not appear as obvious to me.

Matthew 5:3 Beatitude

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When I first read this I wondered why Jesus would want me to be poor in spirit. I assumed it meant that I needed to be sad or discouraged.

I learned that to be poor in spirit is not about being disheartened. But rather it’s the same as being humble in spirit. Instead of being self-satisfied and proud, I need to come to the place of realization that I am not enough.

God blesses us when we realize our need for God and are not proud, thinking we don’t need God.

Matthew 5:4 Beatitude

4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Like Matthew 5:3, I felt confused at first about the meaning of this particular trait. Why would Jesus want me to mourn? Why would He want me to be sad and miserable?

Further study of the verse led me to realize that Jesus is referring to grief over my sin. To mourn is to see how short I’ve fallen from living the life described in the Bible.

God blesses us when we express deep sorrow over our sin.

Matthew 5:5 Beatitude

5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

I used to think that meek meant weak. Why would Jesus want me to be weak, frail, and feeble?

But meek is not weak. Meek is to be submissive….to God. Jesus is asking me to surrender everything to Him. To give up having to be right and demanding my rights.

God blesses us when we submit to His authority and trust Him.

Although I experienced incredible spiritual growth during my trip to Israel, I am grateful that God continues to teach me through the daily study of His Word.

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