While we cannot be sure where the Lord Jesus delivered His famous Sermon on the Mount, we do know that His teaching astonished people for its authority (Matt. 7:28). Christ called people to a way of life radically different than the religion popularized by the Pharisees (Matt. 5:20).
Matthew had summarized Christ’s preaching with the words, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). In the Beatitudes, Christ gave us eight pithy sayings that capture what repentance looks like. They are the Beatitudes, or declarations of the kind of person God has blessed with membership in His kingdom, both now and forever (Matt. 5:3–10). Rather than looking at each Beatitude distinctly, let’s use them like eight colors to paint a picture of what our Lord calls us to in discipleship, and what He promises.
Who are the people who have truly repented? They are a broken and humbled people in their relationships with God and man. They are not rich in their own estimation, but poor; not boasters, but mourners over their sins; not graspers and controllers, but meek and gentle. They long to be holy and to do the Father’s will. They do not simply clean up their external morality, but their hearts are cleansed by faith in Christ so that they sincerely love God and people. This love shows itself in mercy when they encounter people in misery and trouble. They have been reconciled to God, and so they seek to make peace among men. Yet their lives are so different from the world, especially the world of religious hypocrites, that they suffer hostility, slander, and all kinds of persecution. They are heavenly pilgrims in this world.
What blessing does the Lord promise them? It is the kingdom of heaven, where Christ will reign in His glory and His people will shine like the sun. No longer will they sorrow over sin, for all their sins will be gone, and they will be filled like golden cups with the wine of holiness. God will not give them what they deserve, but will show them mercy and openly declare them to be His beloved children in Christ. Though they were the most humble and gentle of men and women, they will rule as conquering kings and queens over the new creation. Best of all, they will directly see the glory of God shining in Jesus Christ, in each other, and in the new heavens and earth. Therefore, Christ says to them, “Blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed!” If you are a Beatitude person, then you are blessed indeed.