When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed…” Matthew 5:1-3
Jesus initiated his ministry after being baptized by John in the Jordan River and undergoing 40 days of temptation in the desert. We read that he went throughout Galilee “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom…” (Matthew 4:23). Huge crowds of people were intrigued and began following Jesus. Matthew chapters 5-7 record Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” which contains his most complete explanation of what life in God’s kingdom looks like. Jesus’ purpose is to Teach us and he begins with the overwhelming benefit of kingdom living.
The first word of Jesus’ teaching is “Blessed.” For many this word is religious and archaic, relegated for use only when someone near sneezes. While it may be true that this is an old word we may not use much, it is to our benefit to understand its meaning. If we need to learn a whole new vocabulary for the purpose of ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks, then I think we are capable of learning the meaning of these Biblical words. Strong Greeks Concordance defines the word as follows: (“become long, large”) – properly, when God extends His benefits (the advantages He confers); blessed. The terms “happy” or “fortunate” are often used to convey the meaning of the Greek word makários, it may also show the origin of the phrase “living large.”
In the opening section of Jesus’ sermon we find the term “blessed” nine times. He is going to lay out the mindset of those who would follow him and these verses are commonly referred to as the Beatitudes. These are the attitudes one adopts to be a disciple of Jesus. Each one of the beatitudes begins with the word “blessed.” Up front we are given the key to having a happy abundant life through Jesus Christ. I challenge you to take time over the next week to read Matthew 5:1-12 daily. Take one minute to read the verses and then spend four minutes contemplating what they mean to you.