THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
The eight declarations of blessedness made by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount <Matt. 5:3-12>, each beginning with "Blessed are..." Some scholars speak of seven, nine, or ten beatitudes, but the number appears to be eight <verses 10-12 of Matthew 5> (being one beatitude).
The Greek word translated blessed means "spiritual well-being and prosperity," the deep joy of the soul. The blessed have a share in salvation, and have entered the kingdom of God, experiencing a foretaste of heaven. Some scholars render each beatitude as an exclamation: "O the bliss [or blessedness] of..."
The Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple, and his rewards, both present and future. The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still "outside the kingdom."
As a literary form, the beatitude is also found often in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms <1:1; 34:8; 65:4; 128:1>, and often in the New Testament also <John 20:29; 14:22; James 1:12; Rev. 14:13>. (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
Spurgeon: Do not fall into the mistake of supposing that the opening verses of the Sermon on the mount set forth how we are to be saved, or you may cause your soul to stumble. You will find the fullest light upon that matter in other parts of our Lord's teaching, but here he discourses upon the question, "Who are the saved?" or, "What are the marks and evidences of a work of grace in the soul?" Who should know the saved so well as the Saviour does? The shepherd best discerns his own sheep, and the Lord himself alone knoweth infallibly them that are his. We may regard the marks of the blessed ones here given as being the sure witness of truth, for they are given by him who cannot err, who cannot be deceived, and who, as their Redeemer, knows his own. The Beatitudes derive much of their weight from the wisdom and glory of him who pronounced them; and, therefore, at the outset your attention is called thereto. Lange says that "man is the mouth of creation, and Jesus is the mouth of humanity;" but we prefer, in this place, to think of Jesus as the mouth of Deity, and to receive his every word as girt with infinite power.
The occasion of this sermon is noteworthy; it was delivered when our Lord is described as "seeing the multitudes." He waited until the congregation around him had reached its largest size, and was most impressed with his miracles, and then he took the tide at its flood, as every wise man should. The sight of a vast concourse of people ought always to move us to pity, for it represents a mass of ignorance, sorrow, sin, and necessity, far too great for us to estimate. The Saviour looked upon the people with an omniscient eye, which saw all their sad condition; he saw the multitudes in an emphatic sense, and his soul was stirred within him at the sight. His was not the transient tear of Xerxes when he thought on the death of his armed myriads, but it was practical sympathy with the hosts of mankind. No one cared for them, they were like sheep without a shepherd, or like shocks of wheat ready to shale out for want of harvest-men to gather them in. Jesus therefore hastened to the rescue. He noticed, no doubt with pleasure, the eagerness of the crowd to hear, and this drew him on to speak. (from Spurgeon's Encyclopedia of Sermons)
DISCIPLES TAUGHT. "THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"
Blessed = Happy, representing the Hebrew ashrey (not the Hebrew word baruk, which means blessed).
The first word of our Lord's great standard sermon is
"Blessed." You have not failed to notice that the last word of the Old Testament
is "curse", and it is suggestive that the opening sermon of our Lord's ministry
commences with the word "Blessed." Nor did he begin in that manner, and then
change his strain immediately, for nine times did that charming word fail from his lips in
rapid succession. It has been well said that Christ's teaching might be summed up in two
words, "Believe" and "Blessed." Mark tells us that he preached,
saying, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel" <Mk 1:15>; and Matthew in this
passage informs us that he came saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" <Mt
5:3>. All his teaching was meant to bless the sons of men; for "God sent not His
Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be
saved" <Jn 3:17>.
[Blessed] [makarioi] (Strong's Greek Concordance 3107). As this word and its cognates occur at least fifty-five times in the New Testament, it is important to understand its history, which is interesting because it is one of those numerous words which exhibit the influence of Christian association and usage in enlarging and dignifying their meaning. It is commonly rendered "blessed," both in the King James Version and English Revised Version (1885), and that rendering might properly be given it in every instance. (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)
The Christian word blessed is full of the light of heaven. It sternly throws away from itself every hint of the Stoic's asserted right of suicide as a refuge from human ills, and emphasizes something which thrives on trial and persecution, which glories in tribulation, which not only endures but conquers the world, and expects its crown in heaven. (from Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament)
[The poor] [hoi (grk 3588) ptoochoi (grk 4434)].
Three words expressing poverty are found in the New Testament. Two of them, [penees] (grk 3993) and [penichros] (grk 3997), are kindred terms, the latter being merely a poetic form of the other, and neither of these occurs more than once <Luke 21:2; 2 Cor. 9:9>. The word used in this verse is therefore the current word for "poor," occurring thirty-four times, and covering every gradation of want; so that it is evident that the New Testament writers did not recognize any nice distinctions of meaning which called for the use of other terms.
from ptosso (to crouch; akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):
scanty pittance," [ptoochos] (grk 4434) is allied to the verb
[ptoossein], "to crouch or cringe," and therefore conveys the idea of utter
destitution, which abjectly solicits and lives by alms. Hence, it is applied to Lazarus
<Luke 16:20,22>, and rendered "beggar." Thus distinguished, it is very
graphic and appropriate here, as denoting the utter spiritual destitution, the
consciousness of which precedes the entrance into the kingdom of God, and which cannot be
relieved by one's own efforts, but only by the free mercy of God.
KJV-- beggar (-ly), poor.
From these few words, we can see that the poor in spirit are reduced to the status of a spiritual beggar, who has no more pride, and has to rely not on there efforts but on the mercy of Almighty God. Because they realize that it is not of themselves but of the mercy of God.
Until you get to that place, like a drowning man reaching out for life, calling out for help, realizing that without some help you will surely die, only in this case your death is eternal and not just physical.
We could classify this as a Broken spirit.
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
The word "heaven" is generally in this connection in the plural, "of (or from) the heavens". For the difference between the use of the singular and plural of this word, see Matthew 6:9,10. This expression is used only in the Gospel of Matthew, as being specially in harmony with the purpose of that Gospel.
It is the dispensational term; and is used sometimes of Messiahs Kingdom on earth, and sometimes of the heavenly sovereignty over the earth. It is not from or out of (Greek ek,) "this world" (Greek kosmos). This sovereignty comes from heaven, because the King is to come from thence (John 18:36). It was to this end He was born, and this was the first subject of His ministry. That Kingdom (Matthew 4:17) was rejected, as was also the further proclamation of it in Acts 3:19-26 (according to the prophetic parable of Matthew 22:2-7). Thenceforth the earthly realization of this Kingdom was postponed, and is now in abeyance until the King shall be sent from heaven (Acts 3:20). The "secrets" of this Kingdom (Matthew 13:11) pertained to the postponement of its earthly realization on account of its being rejected.
The eight Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 are best understood and interpreted by the eight contrasts, or "Woes" of Matthew 23:13-33. The comparison shows that Matthew 5:10-12 form one (the eighth) Beatitude, having one subject (persecution) corresponding with the eighth "Woe" of Matthew 23:29-33.
Besides these eight contrasts there is an internal correspondence of the principal thoughts, suggested by the combined series, and forming the Structure given in Matthew 5:3,4.
It may be further noted that these Beatitudes, rest on special passages in the Psalms:
[They that mourn] (penthountes] (grk 3996). Signifying
"grief manifested; too deep for concealment." Hence, it is often joined with klaiein
(grk 2799), "to weep audibly" <Mark 16:10; James 4:9>.
Strong's #3996 pentheo (pen-theh'-o); from 3997; to grieve (the feeling or the act):
KJV-- mourn, (be-) wail.
Evidently it is that entire feeling which the sense of our
spiritual poverty begets; and so the second beatitude is but the complement of the first.
The one is the intellectual, the other the emotional aspect of the same thing. It is
poverty of spirit that says, "I am undone;" and it is the mourning which this
causes that makes it break forth in the form of a lamentation-- "Woe is me, for I am
undone." Hence, this class are termed "mourners in Zion," or, as we might
express it, religious mourners, in sharp contrast with all other sorts <Isa. 61:1-3;
66:2>. Religion, according to the Bible, is neither a set of intellectual convictions
nor a bundle of emotional feelings, but a compound of both, the former giving birth to the
latter. Thus closely do the first two beatitudes cohere. The mourners shall be
"comforted." Even now they get beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Sowing in tears, they reap even here in
joy. Still all present comfort, even the best, is partial, interrupted, short-lived. But
the days of our mourning shall soon be ended, and then God shall wipe away all tears from
our eyes. Then, in the fullest sense, shall the mourners be "comforted."
We could classify this as a Penitent spirit.
2 Cor 7:9-11
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (KJV)
[The meek] [hoi (grk 3588) praeis (grk 4239)].
Another word which, though never used in a bad sense, Christianity has lifted to a higher
plane, and made the symbol of a higher good. Its primary meaning is "mild,
gentle." It was applied to inanimate things, as light, wind, sound, sickness. It was
used of a horse-- "gentle."
Strong's #4239 praus (prah-ooce'); apparently a primary word; mild, i.e. (by implication) humble:
KJV-- meek. See also #4235.
The Christian meekness is based on humility, which is not a
natural quality but an outgrowth of a renewed nature. To the pagan the word often implied
condescension, to the Christian it implies submission. The Christian quality, in its
manifestation, reveals all that was best in the heathen virtue mildness, gentleness,
equanimity-- but these manifestations toward men are emphasized as outgrowths of a
spiritual relation to God.
Spurgeon: I have often reminded you that the beatitudes in this chapter rise one above the other, and spring out of one another, and that those which come before are always necessary to those that follow after. This third beatitude, "Blessed are the meek," could not have stood first,-- it would have been quite out of place there. When a man is converted, the first operation of the grace of God within his soul is to give him true poverty of spirit, so the first beatitude is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" <Mt 5:3>. The Lord first makes us know our emptiness, and so humbles us; and then, next, he makes us mourn over the deficiencies that are so manifest in us. Then comes the second beatitude: "Blessed are they that mourn." First there is a true knowledge of ourselves; and then a sacred grief arising out of that knowledge. Now, no man ever becomes truly meek, in the Christian sense of that word, until he first knows himself, and then begins to mourn and lament that he is so far short of what he ought to be. Self-righteousness is never meek; the man who is proud of himself will be quite sure to be hard-hearted in his dealings with others. To reach this rung of the ladder of light, he must first set his feet upon the other two. There must be poverty of spirit and mourning of heart before there will come that gracious meekness of which our text speaks.
Note too, that this third beatitude is of a higher order than the other two.
The first two characters that receive a benediction appear to be
wrapped up in themselves. The man is poor in spirit; that relates to himself. His mourning
is his own personal mourning which ends when he is comforted; but the meekness has to do
with other people. It is trues that it has a relationship to God, but a man's meekness is
specially towards his fellow-men. He is not simply meek within himself; his meekness is
manifest in his dealings with others.
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (KJV)
We could classify this as a Mild-tempered, gentle spirit.
1 Pet 3:4
[Shall be filled] [chortastheesontai (grk 5526)]. A
very strong and graphic word, originally applied to the feeding and fattening of animals
in a stall. In <Rev. 19:21>, it is used of the filling of the birds with the flesh
of God's enemies. Also of the multitudes fed with the loaves and fishes <Matt. 14:20;
Mark 8:8; Luke 9:17>. It is manifestly appropriate here as expressing the complete
satisfaction of spiritual hunger and thirst. Hence, Wycliffe's rendering,
"fulfilled," is strictly true to the original.
KJV-- feed, fill, satisfy.
[Blessed are they which do hunger ...] Hunger and thirst, here,
are expressive of strong desire. Nothing would better express the strong desire which we
ought to feel to obtain righteousness than hunger and thirst. No needs are so keen, none
so imperiously demand supply, as these. They occur daily, and when long continued, as in
case of those shipwrecked, and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands, with
scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. An ardent desire for anything is
often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst, <Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1-2>. A
desire for the blessings of pardon and peace; a deep sense of sin, and want, and
wretchedness, is also represented by thirsting, <Isa. 55:1-2>.
[They which do hunger and thirst] As the body has its natural
appetites of hunger and thirst for the food and drink suited to its nourishment, so has
the soul. No being is indestructible or unfailing in its nature but God; no being is
independent but him: as the body depends for its nourishment, health, and strength upon
the earth, so does the soul upon heaven. Heavenly things cannot support the body; they are
not suited to its nature: earthly things cannot support the soul, for the same reason.
When the uneasy sensation termed hunger takes place in the stomach, we know we must get
food or perish. When the soul is awakened to a sense of its wants, and begins to hunger
and thirst after righteousness or holiness, which is its proper food, we know that it must
be purified by the Holy Spirit, and be made a partaker of that living bread, <John
8:48>, or perish everlastingly. Now, as God never inspires a prayer but with a design
to answer it, he who hungers and thirsts after the full salvation of God, may depend on
being speedily and effectually blessed or satisfied, well-fed, as the word
chortastheesontai (grk 5526) implies. Strong and intense desire after any object has been,
both by poets and orators, represented metaphorically by hunger and thirst.
The Old Testament dwells much on this righteousness, as that
which alone God regards with approbation (<Ps. 11:7; 23:3; 106:3; Pro. 12:28; 16:31;
Isa. 64:5>, etc.) Since hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, our Lord,
by employing this figure here, plainly means `those whose deepest cravings are after
spiritual blessings. ' And in the Old Testament we find this craving variously expressed:
"Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord"
We could classify this as a Hungering-thirsting spirit.
[Mercy] [eleos (grk 1656)]. The word emphasizes the misery with which grace (see the note at <Luke 1:30>) deals; hence, peculiarly the sense of human wretchedness coupled with the impulse to relieve it, which issues in gracious ministry. Bengel remarks, "Grace takes away the fault, mercy the misery."
Of uncertain affinity; compassion (human or divine,
KJV-- (+tender) mercy.
[Blessed are the merciful] That is, those who are so affected by the sufferings of others as to be disposed to alleviate them. This is given as an evidence of piety, and it is said that they who show mercy to others shall obtain it. The same sentiment is found in <Matt. 10:42>: "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward." See also <Matt. 25:34-40>. This should be done with a wish to glorify God; that is, in obedience to his commandments, and with a desire that he should be honored, and with a feeling that we are benefiting one of his creatures. Then he will regard it as done to him, and will reward us. See the sentiment of this verse, that the merciful shall obtain mercy, more fully expressed in <2 Sam. 22:26-27>; and in <Ps. 18:25-26>.
Nowhere do we imitate God more than in showing mercy. In nothing
does God delight more than in the exercise of mercy, <Exo. 34:6: Ezek. 33:11; 1 Tim.
2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9>. To us, guilty sinners; to us, wretched, dying, and exposed to eternal
woe, he has shown his mercy by giving his Son to die for us; by expressing his willingness
to pardon and save us; and by sending his Spirit to renew and sanctify our hearts. Each
day of our life, each hour, and each moment, we partake of his undeserved mercy. All the
blessings we enjoy are proofs of his mercy. If we, then, show mercy to the poor, the
wretched, the guilty, it shows that we are like God. We have his spirit, and shall not
lose our reward. And we have abundant opportunity to do it. Our world is full of guilt and
woe, which we may help to relieve; and every day of our lives we have opportunity, by
helping the poor and wretched, and by forgiving those who injure us, to show that we are
[Blessed are the merciful, [eleeemones (grk 1655) =chªciydiym (heb 2623)]: for they shall obtain mercy.] Beautiful is the connection between this and the preceding beatitude. The one has a natural tendency to beget the other. As for the words, they seem directly fetched from Ps. 18:25, "With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful." Not that our mercifulness comes absolutely first. On the contrary, our Lord Himself expressly teaches us that God's method is to awaken in us compassion toward our fellow-men by His own exercise of it, in so stupendous a way and measure, toward ourselves. In the parable of the unmerciful debtor, the servant to whom his lord forgave ten thousand talents was naturally expected to exercise the small measure of the same compassion required for forgiving his fellow-servant's debt of a hundred pence; and it is only when, instead of this, he relentlessly imprisoned him until he should pay it up, that his lord's indignation was roused, and he who was designed for a vessel of mercy is treated as a vessel of wrath (Matt. 18:23-35; and see Matt. 5:23-24; 6:15; Jas. 2:13).
`According to the view given in Scripture, ' says Trench most
justly, `the Christian stands in a middle point, between a mercy received and a mercy yet
needed. Sometimes the first is urged upon him as an argument for showing mercy--
"forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you" <Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32>;
sometimes the last-- "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy;"
"Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" <Luke 6:37; Jas. 5:9>. And thus, while
he is ever to look back on the mercy received as the source and motive of the mercy which
he shows, he also looks forward to the mercy which he yet needs, and which he is assured
that the merciful-- according to what Bengel beautifully calls the benigna talio (the
gracious requital) of the kingdom of God-- shall receive, as a new provocation to its
Note the following thoughts.
Provocation to its abundant exercise. ' The foretastes and
beginnings of this judicial recompense are richly experienced here below: its perfection
is reserved for that day when, from His great white throne, the King shall say, "Come
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the
world; for I was an hungered, and thirsty, and a stranger, and naked, and sick, and in
prison, and ye ministered unto me." Yes, thus He acted toward us while on earth even
laying down His life for us; and He will not, He cannot disown, in the merciful, the image
We could classify this as a Compassionate and merciful spirit.
1 Pet 3:8
[Blessed are the pure in heart [hoi (grk 3588)
katharoi (grk 2513) tee (grk 3588) kardia (grk 2588) = baariym
(heb 1305) leebaab (heb 3824), <Ps. 24:4; 73:1>]: for they shall see God.]
Here, too, we are on Old Testament ground.
The conscience thus purged-- the heart thus springled-- there is
light within where-with to see God. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and
walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in
the light, have fellowship one with the other" [met' (grk 3326) alleeloon
(grk 240)]-- He with us and we with Him-- "and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son
cleanseth us"-- us who have this fellowship, and who, without such continual
cleansing, would soon lose it again-- "from all sin" <1 John 1:6-7>.
"Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him" <1 John 3:6>;
"He that doeth evil hath not seen God" <3 John 1:11>.
[Pure in heart] In opposition to the Pharisees, who affected
outward purity, while their hearts were full of corruption and defilement. A principal
part of the Jewish religion consisted in outward washings and cleansings: on this ground
they expected to see God, to enjoy eternal glory: but Christ here shows that a
purification of the heart, from all vile affections and desires, is essentially requisite
in order to enter into the kingdom of God. He whose soul is not delivered from all sin,
through the blood of the covenant, can have no Scriptural hope of ever being with God.
"SHALL SEE GOD"
[Shall see God.] This is a Hebraism, which signifies, possess
God, enjoy his felicity: as seeing a thing, was used among the Hebrews for possessing it.
See <Psa. 16:10>. Thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to SEE corruption, i. e. he
shall not be corrupted. So <John 3:3>, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
kingdom of God, i. e. he cannot enjoy it. So <John 3:16>, He that believeth not the
Son, shall not SEE life, i. e. shall not be put in possession of eternal glory.
We can classify this as a Pure spirit.
1 Tim 1:5
1 Tim 3:9
1 Tim 5:22
1 Pet 1:22
[The peacemakers] [hoi (grk 3588) eireenopoioi
(grk 1518)]. Should be held to its literal meaning, "peace-makers;"
not as Wycliffe: "peaceable men." The founders and promoters of peace are meant;
who not only keep the peace, but seek to bring people into harmony with each other.
Tyndale renders it, "the maintainers of peace."
Strong's Concordance: 1518 eirenopoios (i-ray-nop-oy-os');
[Blessed are the peacemakers] Those who strive to prevent
contention, strife, and war; who use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to
prevent lawsuits and hostilities in families and neighborhoods. Every man may do something
of this; and no man is more like God than he who does it. There ought not to be unlawful
and officious interference in that which is none of our business; but without any danger
of acquiring this character, every man has many opportunities of reconciling opposing
parties. Friends, neighhors, people of influence, lawyers, physicians, ministers of the
gospel, may do much to promote peace. And it should be taken in hand in the beginning.
"The beginning of strife," says Solomon, "is like the letting out of
water." "An ounce of prevention," says the English proverb, "is worth
a pound of cure."
"CHILDREN OF GOD"
Those who resemble God, or who manifest a spirit like his. He is
the Author of peace <1 Cor. 14:33>; and all those who endeavor to promote peace are
like him, and are worthy to be called his children.
A peace-maker is a man who, being endowed with a generous public
spirit, labours for the public good, and feels his own interest promoted in promoting that
of others: therefore, instead of fanning the fire of strife, he uses his influence and
wisdom to reconcile the contending parties, adjust their differences, and restore them to
a state of unity.
We could classify this as a Spirit of wisdom and mediation.
1 Cor 13:1-3
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
They which are persecuted - Dedioogmenoi
(grk 1377), they who are hard pressed upon, and pursued with repeated acts of enmity.
Parkhurst. They are happy who suffer, seems a strange saying: and that the righteous
should suffer, merely because they are such, seems as strange. But such is the enmity of
the human heart to everything of God and goodness, that all those who live godly in Christ
Jesus shall suffer persecution in one form or other. As the religion of Christ gives no
quarter to vice, so the vicious will give no quarter to this religion, or to its
Blessed are they which are persecuted - To persecute means literally to pursue; follow after, as one does a flying enemy. Here it means to vex, or oppress one, on account of his religion. They persecute others who injure their names, reputation, property, or who endanger or take their life, on account of their religious opinions.
For righteousness' sake - Because they are
righteous, or are the friends of God. We are not to seek persecution. We are not to
provoke it by strange sentiments or conduct; by violating the laws of civil society, or by
modes of speech that are unnecessarily offensive to others. But if, in the honest effort
to be Christians, and to live the life of Christians, others persecute and revile us, we
are to consider this as a blessing. It is an evidence that we are the children of God, and
that he will defend us. "All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution," <2 Tim. 3:12>.
When men shall revile you, and persecute - The
persecution mentioned in the preceding verse comprehends all outward acts of violence--
all that the hand can do. This comprehends all calumny, slander, etc., all that the tongue
can effect. But as diookein (grk 1377), which we render to persecute, is a
forensic term, and signifies legal persecutions and public accusations, which, though
totally unsubstantiated, were the means of destroying multitudes of the primitive
Christians, our Lord probably refers to such. No Protestant can think, without horror, of
the great numbers burnt alive in this country, on such accusations, under the popish reign
of her who is emphatically called Bloody Queen Mary.
When men shall revile you - Reproach you;
call you by evil and contemptuous names; ridicule you because you are Christians. Thus,
they said of Jesus that he was a Samaritan and had a devil <John 8:48>; that he was
mad <John 10:20>; and thus they reviled and mocked him on the cross, <Matt.
27:39-44>. But, being reviled, he reviled not again <1 Pet. 2:23>; and thus being
reviled, we should bless <1 Cor. 4:12>; and thus, though the contempt of the world
is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to
imitate his example, and even to suffer for his sake, <Phil 1:29>.
All manner of evil against you falsely - An
emphasis should be laid on the word falsely in this passage. It is not blessed to have
evil spoken of us if we deserve it; but if we deserve it not, then we should not consider
it as a calamity. We should take it patiently, and show how much the Christian, under the
consciousness of innocence, can bear, <1 Pet. 3:13-8>.
For my sake - Because you are attached to
me; because you are Christians. We are not to seek such things. We are not to do things to
offend others; to treat them harshly or unkindly, and. to court revilings. We are not to
say or do things, though they may be on the subject of religion, designed to disgust or
offend. But if, in the faithful endeavor to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master
was, then we are to take it with patience, and to remember that thousands before us have
been treated in like manner. When thus reviled or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient,
humble; not angry; not reviling again; but endeavoring to do good to our persecutors and
slanderers, <2 Tim. 2:24-25>. In this way many have been convinced of the power and
excellence of that religion which they were persecuting and reviling. They have seen that
nothing else but Christianity could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted;
and have, by this means, been constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus.
Long since it became a proverb, "that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the
The followers of Christ are encouraged to suffer joyfully on two considerations.
1. They are thereby conformed to the prophets who went before.
2. Their reward in heaven is a great one.
God gives the grace to suffer, and then crowns that grace with
glory; hence, it is plain, the reward is not of debt, but of grace: <Rom. 6:23>
We could classify this as a Longsuffering and forgiving spirit.
1 Pet 4:14-17
This ends the Beatitudes