Matthew 5:1-12    The Be-Atitudes

These must be some of the best known verses in the Bible, but that should not blind us to the depth of thought, which together with the simple way it is expressed, has attracted so many generations of people.  The “beatitudes” (as these verses are known) emphasize eight principal marks of Christian character and conduct, especially in relation to God and to men, and the divine blessing which rests on those who exhibit these marks.  All these qualities are to characterize all Christ’s followers: it is not a matter of picking and choosing, nor is it only an élite group who are to follow these injunctions.  The ways and standards of God sometimes seem upside-down to mankind.  “God exalts the humble and brings down the proud, calls the first last, and the last first, sends the rich away empty-handed and declares the meek to be his heirs.  Jesus congratulates those whom the world most pities, and calls the world’s rejects `blessed'” (J.R.W.Stott)