In Matthew 5, Jesus begins His perfectly worded “Sermon on the Mount” with nine sentences that we know as “The Beatitudes.” For three chapters in our Bibles, Jesus will preach about heaven, the church, sincere faith, and obedience to God. Crowds of people will surround Him and listen in amazement while the religious leaders of the day look on.
Those crowds will hear teachings they have never heard before, and it all starts with the beatitudes. What Jesus does, with His very first words, is let those people know who He is preaching to, what sort of people He is trying to reach, and what kind of people He is hoping will hear.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” refers to people who are humble in status. He’s preaching to people who are not leaders, rulers, or kings. He’s preaching to those who have recognized their lowly position, and He says, “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
“Blessed are the gentle” or “meek” refers to those who treat others with kindness or compassion. He is speaking to people who choose to treat others with respect, and He says, “they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew5:5).
“Blessed are the pure in heart” points out those who sincerely serve God. He refers to people who do not live hypocritical lives or have a shallow sort of faith, and He says, “they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
The greatest sermon ever preached spoke to and about an unexpected and unlikely group of people who will eventually experience indescribable blessings from God. Jesus never praises the religious leaders, the rich, or the proud. Jesus instead directs this perfect sermon to the humble, the gentle, and the sincere.