“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12
Jesus saw the multitudes and retreated up to a mountain, and when His disciples came to Him, He taught them the upside down principles of His kingdom. The Beatitudes describe the mature heart of a follower of Jesus and the progression of promises that flow from that heart’s journey towards the kingdom of heaven.
The kingdom of heaven enfolds the Beatitudes, as the first “blessedness,” “poor in spirit,” and the last “blessedness,” “persecution,” end with the promise that the kingdom of heaven is that follower’s future.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
State of the heart
It’s an upside down kingdom, a kingdom that values a person who recognizes that he is nothing on his own, that he is poor in spirit. He mourns over that broken state, and that creates a meekness or gentleness. When a follower in the kingdom of heaven realizes that he needs what Jesus has, he hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Because of this longing, he realizes that others can do nothing apart from Jesus, and he has mercy on them. His heart is focused upon one thing, purely the will of Jesus. This kingdom citizen experiences peace with God and strives to bring others into this peace and peace with each other. Persecution follows, as the world does not understand the follower of this upside down kingdom.
What if we understood the state of our heart in light of the heart of Jesus?
Seven is the number of perfection. The blessed ones possess these great and precious promises.
- Kingdom of heaven
- Inherit the earth
- See God
- Called the sons of God
The drawing below illustrates the traits of the heart’s desire and the promises that follow.
The persecuted are promised the kingdom of heaven as are the poor in spirit. Jesus adds that their reward is great.
What if we set our hearts’ desires upon possessing these promises?
Jesus, thank You for the Beatitudes. Cause them to sink deep into our hearts and minds. Teach us their truth, their fullness, and their richness. Oh, Lord, we love You and long for the kingdom of heaven, for your comfort, to inherit the earth, for the satisfaction that comes from Your righteousness, for Your gracious mercy. We want to see You as You are, and we desire to be called the sons of God. Bless us and pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us to overflowing. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Please share your thoughts about the Beatitudes and the promises they hold.