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12 Days of Christmas: The Eight Beatitudes

I would love to start off with Matthew Henry’s commentary on verses 3-12, which says, “Christ begins his sermon with blessings, for he came into the world to bless us (Acts 3:26)". Because, for me, that sums up the Eight Beatitudes - Christ came into the world to bless us and to save us (John 3:16). Through His ministry, it blesses us as His followers, not just on the mountain when the Beatitudes were given, but for us today.

Let’s look at them as individual statements, but also as a whole statement.

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

The “poor in spirit” are those who are have given up everything that the world offers and choose Christ. To deny themselves, and take up the cross daily and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). We humble ourselves before the Lord, not just as a person but as a born again Christian. Because we are all in need of saving - from the wrath and judgement that is to come on the last day (Romans 2:5). Once we are saved, our home awaits us either once we die or when Christ returns (Philippians 3:20-21).

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

We can ‘mourn’ for various reasons, and I once thought this meant that God will comfort those who are grieving. In so many ways, it does mean that - but at a deeper level. As a born again Christian, we are saddened by our own sinful actions, so mum so that we “mourn” deeply. This is because it saddens God (Ephesians 4:30) when we break His laws and commands, and they are to keep us close to Him because God loves us (Revelation 3:19). But God is our great comforter (Psalm 23), forgiving and the giver of eternal life (1 John 5:20).

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

This part of the Beatitudes brings me back to Psalm 37:11, where the Psalmist says, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Peace being given by Christ, through salvation. We can delight, be joyful, enjoy that complete peace in Christ because we have asked for forgiveness. The meek being those who are humble towards God (Colossians 3:12) and towards other people (Titus 3:2; Galatians 6:1).

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The Amplified Version expands on this verse so well - “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” We, as born again Christians, should hunger for God’s word and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with God’s word, our minds and souls are satisfied. We will always hunger for more of His Word, but that’s why the Bible, morning and evening services at church, prayer meetings and other God-centred meetings that are held, are there for us to be spiritually fed.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

I love the simplicity of this verse, in that we who are merciful, wanting to repent of our sins, shall receive mercy through the forgiveness of sins. Our God is a God of mercy (Psalm 86:15), even though we are undeserving (Romans 3:23) He is forgiving (1 John 1:9) and wants us to come to Him when we are in need (Hebrews 4:16).

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

God commanded us to be holy, for He is holy (Leviticus 20:26). I read recently in Malachi 3:2 that Chris is “like a refiner’s fire”, cleansing His people so that we can be courageous (Joshua 1:9); spiritually mature with the desire to grow (1 Peter 2:2); and, of godly character (2 Timothy 3:1-12). God knows our hearts and our desires, and He wants us to trust Him through every single desire, thought, trial that we have (Psalm 139:1-4).

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Our God is a God of peace - Jesus was even described as “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Christ’s birth, death and resurrection carried the message of salvation, of peace, of love. And God wants us, as His followers, to carry the same message. There is a song I love to sing in the car, and these words fit in perfectly with our God of peace - “You are the fire, You are the flame, You are the light on the darkest day, We have the hope, we bear Your name, We carry the news that You have come to save, Only You can save”.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 10:22 says, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Jesus, himself, said that we will suffer for His name. But there is a wonderful verse in Romans 8:18 that says that are current sufferings, troubles, trials and tribulations are nothing compared to the glory that we will see when Christ returns. We have Heaven as a reward, to be by God’s side for eternity - our sufferings are only temporary (James 4:14).

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Jesus was accused for a lot of things during His trial with Pilate (Matthew 26:57-68) and “false witnesses” were brought forward to tell untrue things of Jesus and twist His sayings. Peter, one of the apostles, said that sinners will “falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ” (1 Peter 3:16), knowing through his own experiences but in the future ones to come for Christ’s followers, that we would be excluded (Luke 6:22) and suffer for Christ (1 Peter 4:16). But Peter also said this - “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2:20).



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