The Parable of the Beatitudes
The beatitudes are simple statements yet they impart a profound meaning. These simple statements serve as a guide to a Christ-like way of life. They direct as the same time as they teach the way towards righteousness.
They communicate the values worthy to a Christian life. In following such values, a person will not only be able to enjoy a happy and peaceful life but will likewise inherit the Kingdom in Heaven the moment his or her life on earth comes to an end. In the fifth chapter of the book of Matthew, from the third to the twelfth verse, an account of the Eight Beatitudes may be found. It reads:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew, whose account of this particular event in the history of Christianity can be found in the fifth chapter of his book in the New Testament, was initially a gatherer of toll by profession (Phillips, 2006). In response to his mission in life, Matthew came to gather souls. In the first chapter of his book, he laid down the birth and genealogy of the only Begotten Son of the Father. He then set down the dignity of Jesus Christ in the second chapter. Afterwards, Matthew recorded the baptism of Jesus Christ in the following chapter. An account of the temptations faced by the only Begotten Son of the Father can be found in the fourth chapter of the book of Matthew. In the fifth chapter, Matthew records the preaching of Jesus Christ (Phillips, 2006).
At the time the only Begotten Son of the Father was in the process of establishing His Church in the world to foster His work and teaching, He did not abolish the conventional beliefs that the people have grown accustomed to during that time. Instead, he built upon such beliefs and retained the good points and removed the ones which proved to be outdated (McMurray, 2007). Several years ago, the Heavenly Father gave to Moses the Ten Commandments. It served as a rule of life. It spelled out what must and must not be done as children of God. On his part, the only Begotten Son of the Father established such commandments as the foundation of His teachings. He used it to demonstrate how it is to live a life of righteousness. One day, Jesus Christ assembled his followers as well as his followers’ friends. He then addressed them strongly, firmly, and directly about the way they are to live their lives with happiness and peace in anticipation of a life eternal (McMurray, 2007).
Such gathering which seems to have taken place on the slopes above Capernaum came to be known as the Sermon on the Mount (Phillips, year; McMurray, year). The people drawn by the miracles performed by the Jesus Christ went up to the mountainside to listen to His message. It was when the only Begotten Son of the Father sat down with them as was customary in the Jewish tradition. He then started to explain to them the rule of life in practical terms (McMurray, 2007).
He addressed the crowd beginning with the beatitudes. The Eight Beatitudes is a series of statements pronouncing that happiness will be granted to those who embody the certain characteristics mentioned (Phillips, 2006). The crowd was stunned upon hearing the message. The message was directed to the disciples of Jesus Christ. However, the message was nonetheless heard by all. The only Begotten Son delivered concepts that although distinctive rose above the mightiest aspirations of those who came eager to listen to what He has to say (Phillips, 2006).
In the first beatitude, the term “poor” refers to those who realize that salvation is not possible without God (Phillips, 2006). They acknowledge the fact that salvation is something that they can never obtain through their own efforts alone. Thus, the poor in spirit place their complete trust upon Jesus Christ. Their faith is in the only Begotten Son of the Father. Those who are poor in spirit acknowledge their sins before God. They know that as sinners, they do not deserve the graces that the all holy and loving Father bestows upon them.
Hence the poor in spirit draw closer to the Father, aware that they have sinned against His will and admit of their lack of righteous ways. They are the people who recognize that since they are undeserving of any blessings given by the Father, they are likewise completely unworthy of fellowship and communion with Him (Schweizer & Green, 1975).
These people acknowledge that all their worldly possessions are in fact liabilities before the Father. They know that material wealth is worth nothing compared to the riches which may be found in heaven. It means that Jesus Christ is the way which would lead the rest of humanity towards salvation. The poor in spirit realize that as sinners, they are in dire need of the saving grace of God. Such grace from the Father can only be achieved through faith in His only Begotten Son.
In the second beatitude, those who mourn are the ones who acknowledge that he or she is a sinner before the Father (Schweizer & Green, 1975). Those who mourn since they have sinned against God are aware that they have caused a great deal of hurt to their Father for having offended him because of their wrongdoings. In this light, those who mourn recognize their lack of righteousness. They know that as sinners, they are unworthy of the Kingdom of Heaven as well as of salvation. These miserable yet remorseful sinners realize that by means of God’s grace, their sins will be forgiven and they will be able to enjoy the gift of salvation. The only Begotten Son says that these people are blessed. The blessing that they will receive is greater than any other as they are to receive divine approval for having mourned for their sins (McMurray, 2007). In this way, those who mourn for their sins will see God and the Father will remain with them for all eternity.
In the third beatitude, the term “meek” refers to those who are strong because God is the one who is in charge of their lives (Phillips, 2006). Their strength comes from God. It is also God who controls their strength. The actions, emotions, will, words, and thoughts of those who are meek are all directed by God. These people do not submit to their own will or to that of the material world. Instead, they submit to the will of the Father (Phillips, 2006).
In the fourth beatitude, righteousness is to live a life that conforms to the will of the Heavenly Father (McMurray, 2007). Righteousness is a way of life that is pleasing to God. It is a kind of life that the Heavenly Father approves of. A righteous person follows the lead set forth by the only Begotten Son. Jesus Christ dwells upon a righteous person.
This person needs to be filled will meals of righteousness to perform his or her religious task just as the human body needs to be nourished with food in order to survive (Schweizer & Green, 1975). This person eagerly desires to seek righteousness and therefore leads a life that is pleasing to God. This person’s spiritual enlightenment leads him or her towards the realization that there is nothing more pleasing, pure, and perfect in the eyes of God than a life which the Heavenly Father completely approves of.
With regards to the fifth beatitude, the merciful ones pertains to those with compassionate hearts and extend help to those who are in need (McMurray, 2007). A loving disposition one feels for those who are suffering is referred to as mercy. Still, being merciful means more than just being compassionate. To be truly merciful, one is required to act in order to address the matter (Phillips, 2006). Those who are merciful believe that the mercy they have towards their neighbors must be like the mercy they receive from the Father. After all, the merciful believe that God will repay their acts of mercy many times over.
In the sixth beatitude, a heart that is pure is one that is free from sinful intentions and sinful desires (Schweizer & Green, 1975). God does not look at a person’s external appearance. He does not look at the worldly achievements a person has. The Heavenly Father only looks at his children’s hearts. He wanted his children to live a life as that of His Son, Jesus Christ. He wanted His children to be like Jesus Christ, their brother whose heart is pure (Phillips, 2006).
In the seventh beatitude, a peacemaker is someone who does not only love the Heavenly Father but his or her neighbors as well (McMurray, 2007). As peacemaker, this person will exert all possibilities to his or her disposal to promote peace in all places. It is through the knowledge and strength received from God which allows the peacemaker to form a decent relationship between parties who are in dispute. Such relationship is based upon righteousness and truth (McMurray, 2007). A peacemaker becomes a child of the Father through his or her imitation of the Father’s love for His children.
In the eighth beatitude, the only Begotten Son of the Father proclaims that a blessing will be bestowed upon those who suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness (Schweizer & Green, 1975). Christians pay the price of persecution for following the will of the Father (Schweizer & Green, 1975). Even so, the Heavenly Kingdom is blessing that awaits those who are persecuted for living a life as Jesus Christ did.
The Kingdom of Heaven will be inherited by the weak, poor, afflicted, gentle, righteous, peacemaker, and pure of heart. These people are truly happy and blessed. They receive the loving mercy of the Heavenly Father. They are blessed to see God. They are after all, His children.
Worldly wisdom is contradicted by the beatitudes. In order to be truly happy, one has to be compassionate, meek, and poor in spirit. Merciful forgiveness and justice for all provides genuine human interpersonal relationships. Those who are pure of heart and exert an effort to promote peace in the world will find God. Living a life like that of Jesus Christ is not devoid of persecution and trail. Nonetheless, a live of love, hope, and faith is a kind of life that a true follower of the only Begotten Son of the Father is supposed to live.
McMurray, M. (2007). The Beatitudes: Jesus’ guide to happy living. England: Gracewing
Phillips III, J. (2006). Exploring the Gospel of Matthew: An Expository Commentary.
Michigan: Kregel Publications.
Schweizer, E. & Green, D. (1975). The Good News According to Matthew. Kentucky:
Westminster John Knox Press.
The New American Bible. (1987). Nashville: Catholic Bible Press.