The Poor in Spirit:
Jesus promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). When he told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:10-14), which one of them was poor in spirit? However rich in blessings we are, we should still recognize that we are sinners.
Those who Mourn:
Jesus promises comfort those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). When Lazarus died, Martha and Mary must both have mourned (John 11:17-44). Who does Jesus offer more comfort to? Those who acknowledge his current power, or those who condemn his failure to use his power?
Jesus says the meet will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). A centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13). He didn’t consider himself worthy to take Jesus out of his way. Instead of demanding, he acknowledged Jesus’ right to demand. Is that meekness?
Those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness:
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:6). The crowds that followed Jesus must have got hungry at times, and Jesus showed a very human concern for them. When the disciples would have sent them home, Jesus instead had them sit down and share a feast (Matthew 14:21, 15:38). But it wasn’t earthly food they were seeking when they set out to follow him, but rather the food of hearing him speak righteousness into their lives.
Jesus says the merciful will obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). The Good Samaritan showed mercy to his neighbor in Jesus’ story (Luke 10:30-37). He didn’t ask his neighbor to share his beliefs, or even approve of his beliefs. He didn’t ask him to give up sinning, or to acknowledge the superiority of Samaritan rule. He just helped.
The Pure in Heart:
Jesus tells us that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). Jesus taught his disciples to pray (Luke 11:2-4). The prayer, a familiar one to us, begins with the gentle name Abba—Daddy. Perhaps it’s that childlike purity of heart that allows us to see God as Our Father.
Peacemakers will be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). Sometimes the first step to making peace is being willing to forgive. Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who offends him (Matthew 18:21-22). Are we really supposed to count to seventy-seven?
Those who are Persecuted for Righteousness’ Sake:
Jesus promises the kingdom to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10), but that probably doesn’t mean we have to go in search of persecution. Jesus also told his disciples to leave a town where they weren’t welcome, and stay in those that welcomed them (Matthew 10:11-14).