Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Lesson: Micah 6:1-8
Psalm: Psalm 1
CLB Pastors Network – Dr. David Veum
To interpret the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, one must first determine their purpose. Are they prescriptive Law statements of what a disciple ought to be? Or are they descriptive of the Follower of Christ who has been redeemed by Him and indwelt by the Holy Spirit? The context gives us the answer. The Beatitudes are preceded by a summary of Christ’s ministry. They are followed by a promise: You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world. In this New Year we are given a renewed vision of who we are as Christ’s followers in this world.
Jesus proclaims the blessedness and in effect his kingdom. “Blessed” is a word that means “joyous especially as the object of divine favor.” As the sermon will make clear, this favor does not look at all like that which the world seeks. Instead this favored status is described in four beatitudes which reflect the Follower’s relationship with God and describes their relationship to others.
Luther’s Works – Volume 21
(Blessed are the poor in spirit) “This is intended to say that while we live here, we should us all temporal goods and physical necessities, the way a guest does in a strange place, where he stays overnight and leaves in the morning. He needs no more than bed and board and dare not say: ‘This is mine, here I stay.” Nor dare he take possession of the property as though it belonged to him by right; otherwise he would soon hear the host say to him: ‘My friend, don’t you know that you are a guest here? Go back to where you belong.’”
Luther, M., Luther’s Works: Volume 21. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1956.
Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel
“The first four beatitudes look toward God, the next three toward men. These treat of three virtues which mark the godly as blessed. “The merciful” are, of course, the same persons as those referred to in the previous beatitudes. Luther well says that in all the beatitudes faith is presupposed as the tree on which all the Fruit of blessedness grows. This, then, is not mere natural mercy as it is occasionally found among men generally but the mercy growing out of our personal experience of the mercy of God.”
Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augs- burg Publishing House, 1943.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
“Verses 11-12, switch from third person to second, and apply the force of the last beatitude, not to the church, but to Jesus’ disciples. Doubtless Matthew and his contemporaries also applied it to themselves. Verse 11 extends the persecution of v.10 to include insult, persecution, and slander (Luke 6:22-23 adds hate). The reason for the persecution in v.10 is ‘because of righteousness’; now, Jesus says, it is ‘because of me.’ This confirms that the righteousness of life that is in view is in imitation of Jesus.”
Carson, D.A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.