Blessed are the spiritually poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Luther explains how being physically poor and spiritually poor are different. Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you don’t know Christ. Or just because you are in extreme poverty doesn’t mean you know Jesus or will have the kingdom of heaven. You have to actually humble yourself before God and understand that He is greater than you. Compared to Christ we are nothing and we have to get to that level before we even know Christ. Luther says this is a prerequisite to the rest of the beatitudes. If you are think much of yourself you won’t obtain the rest of the beatitudes. If we can’t humble ourselves, what can we do with Christ?
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Throughout a Christian’s life we acquire “God’s Eyes.” Our hearts will break for what breaks His and this is what He means here. We will mourn over our sins and others. We will be extremely compassionate for others regardless of how much we know them. When we see everyone as a child of God we see ourselves with everyone else. We will celebrate with others as if we were the ones to win or mourn with others as if it was our lost. Christ has more compassion than any of us and He felt pity when He looked at His people because of how far sin has pushed them away from Him. But Christ promises us comfort. We will have eternal peace with Christ
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Meek, according to Luther, is talking about how individuals are to live, not in relation to their children or in their official capacity as father and mother, but in relation to those whom they are not father and mother, like neighbors and other people. We are to acknowledge all as Children of God like ourselves and we should be “Living together reasonably.” We should all have peace with one another because of the peace God has given with us. With this we shall inherit the earth. This only comes by from being spiritually poor.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
He says this means, “That man is righteous and blessed who continually works and strives with all his might to promote general welfare and the proper behavior of everyone and who helps to maintain and support this by word and dead, by precept and example. “ We should have a holy passion to do this because of the Holy Spirit inside of us. Also by being spiritual poor, we will have our sights on God and do all things for Him. Luther concludes, “I did not undertake this for their sakes, and I shall not drop it for their sakes. Eventually some of them might come around; at least there might be fewer of them, and they may improve a little.” He is saying if we keep our eyes on God and do all things for Him it won’t matter if others don’t accept us or if something with others doesn’t work because we are doing it for God, not them.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
For Luther this is one of the most noticeable fruits of the Spirit and you can find fakes by using this verse. “Saint Gregory also teaches us how to recognize this when he says, ‘True justice shows mercy, but false justice shows indignation.’” He says true holiness is merciful and sympathetic. The Holy Spirit guides us through life with a spirit of forgiveness and helpfulness. Then God says He will reward us with the same.
Blessed are those of a pure heart, for they shall see God.
Luther admits this one is “rather obscure and not very intelligible to us” but it gives us an aim. We should have a pure heart. A pure heart is one that is watching and pondering what God says and replacing its own ideas with the Word of God. Since the Word is most pure, the more we do from the Word the more pure we become because whatever God does and ordains must be pure and good. So we should guard ourselves against false teaching and learn the Word. Tozer says to make our lives a sacrament to Christ. I believe Luther would concur. Everything we do should be in accordance to the word. It should be as if you could plop yourself into Acts and fit in.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
To summarize what Luther said I will quote him, “A person must advise and support peace while he can and keep quiet as long as possible. But when the sin is evident and becomes too widespread or does public damage… then there is no longer time to be quiet but only to defend and attack.” So we are to cause peace but it does not mean we are to tolerate sin.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
He makes it clear; blessed are all those who are persecuted is not what Jesus is saying. We must be standing up for His name and be attacked for that. If you get picked on in school and you rejoice in the Lord that’s great, but we as Christians tend to stick out where we aren’t suppose to and we blend in where God tells us to stand out. We are to not conform to this world. We are to follow God’s lead and treat Him like our Father and take us His trade. We should have such a conviction behind the Gospel that even if the whole world would stand up against you, you can’t give in. You simply don’t have it in you to give in because you believe it that boldly.
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.
We should expect persecution. 1 Peter talks all about this. We can’t think that just because we aren’t having our best life now that we are doing it wrong. We are to believe, or commit ourselves to, Christ and all His teachings and that is right. Look at John the Baptist, he believed and he got his head chopped off. The Gospel is too important to fade away from because of some earthly dilemma. God is bigger than your problems and has eternity waiting for us.