The Beatitudes in Matthew 5

The Beatitudes serve as a sort of preamble to the Sermon on the Mount, but they are an even more memorable treasure for humanity. The Beatitudes give a succinct statement of the ethos of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus has announced and summarize the principles of kingdom life that he will articulate in the Sermon that follows.

We find in them an abstract of Jesus’ history-altering intention for establishing the kingdom of heaven as well as a clue to Matthew’s organization of his Gospel. Eight primary statements of blessing make up the Beatitudes, with the ninth statement of blessing (5:11​–12) being an extension and personalization of the eighth beatitude for Jesus’ disciples who experience persecution:

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

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

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

4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

8. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus elaborates in his follow-up statement—"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me…”—looking down the long corridor of time until the kingdom is established on earth in its final form and offers hope during those times when it seems doubtful that his kingdom will ever arrive. It may not look like it from a religious, economic, or social perspective, but the kingdom is theirs nonetheless—and in this they will truly rejoice.