Jesus started His Sermon on the Mount with nine sayings. What do these famous Beatitudes mean? What does He want us to learn and do?
Jesus went all around Galilee, teaching the good news about God’s Kingdom. Great crowds followed Him wherever He went. He healed many sick people (Matthew 4:23).
One day He went up on a mountain and sat down. His disciples came to Him. He wanted to teach them some important things. He wanted them to know how they should behave and who would inherit the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:1).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matthew 5:3-11).
These sayings are called the Beatitudes. Beatitude comes from a word that means happy or blessed. These nine verses start with the word blessed. This means to be happy. Jesus explained the rewards for thinking and doing right things.
- To be poor in spirit means we are to be humble, not proud. We aren’t to show off.
- To mourn means to feel grief or sorrow.
- To be meek means to be kind, gentle and patient.
- To seek after righteousness means to learn God’s laws and always do the right thing.
- To be merciful means to be kind and forgiving to others.
- To be pure in heart means to not think wrong thoughts. We should think about right things.
- To be a peacemaker means to be peaceful with all people and help others to have peace.
- To be persecuted means to be treated badly because of doing the right thing.
How do we have a right attitude?
- We should not be full of pride. We should honor others, not putting ourselves above anyone.
- We should comfort others when they are sad.
- We should be meek, kind, gentle and patient to others. This doesn’t mean weak. We should trust in God’s strength.
- We should always do the right thing. We should know God’s laws and keep them.
- We should always show mercy to others, forgiving and loving them.
- We should have a pure and right heart, not thinking sinful thoughts. We should be without fault as much as possible.
- We should be peaceful with all people. We should not be causing problems for others. We should help others to be peaceful by setting a good example for them.
- If we are treated badly for doing the right thing, we should not let that stop us. We should keep doing what God wants us to do.
Remember, in this sermon Jesus described the attitudes we should have. He showed how we are to behave toward others. When we behave like Jesus Christ, others will learn by our example. Best of all, God will bless us. He will reward us for doing the right thing.
We should follow Jesus’ example. We should live as He lived and act as He acted toward others, even His enemies.
What is a wrong attitude?
Sometimes we can have a bad attitude. The results of bad attitudes do not match up with any of the right attitudes that Jesus described. A bad attitude can be changed when we look at how Jesus wants us to be.
When you see yourself in a bad attitude, think of how you should be behaving.
Here are some examples of bad attitudes:
- Being full of pride, thinking only of yourself and not giving praise and honor to others.
- Being unkind and not forgiving.
- Telling lies.
- Becoming angry and letting that cause you to make bad choices.
- Not being patient, kind and gentle to others.
- Causing fights and not being peaceful.
- Thinking wrong thoughts instead of right thoughts.
- Breaking God’s laws instead of obeying them.
- Trying to get back at others who treat you badly.
Remember we are to set the right example for others, just as Jesus did for us.
If we want to be called “blessed,” we have to have the good attitudes stated in the Beatitudes.
Questions for family discussion
1. When Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount, what did He want people to know?
2. What will people receive if they have the right attitudes that Jesus taught?
3. How do we develop a bad attitude? How would you describe your attitude today?
4. What do we have to do to be called “blessed”?
Bonus: Memorize the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11.
Read more about the Beatitudes in the article “Beatitudes: Keys to Real Happiness.”