Matthew 5:3-5 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth.”
Jesus opens his main teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven by saying ‘blessed’ literally ‘happy’ are those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are gentle. The word Jesus uses for ‘happy’ is makarios meaning these are the characteristics of people who are in a good situation with God. There is a sense of congratulations and commendation associated with the word as opposed to feeling happy.
A lot of theologians believe the beatitudes work as a ladder where one characteristic builds upon another. Jesus is saying people should be commended who have recognized their sinful estate apart from God, causing them to be poor in spirit. That is how people take hold of Christ the Savior and enter the kingdom of heaven. When people mourn their sin, or the sin of the world, they end up comforted by the Holy Spirit of Christ. One of the manifest outcomes of recognizing our own sinful estate is becoming gentle and meek towards others and the meek will inherit the earth for all of eternity.
Congratulations! I want to commend you on possessing the kingdom of heaven; you who have owned your sinful estate, you who have mourned your sin and the sin of the world, you who have by God’s grace become gentle or meek towards others. Christ is present and your future is bright!
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for helping us recognize that we are by nature your enemies, incapable of producing your agape love. Thank you for leading us into compassion for others who haven’t yet recognized their need for your saving grace. Help us to walk wisely and gently today in Jesus’ name, Amen.