The Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. The term beatitude comes from the Latin noun beātitūdō which means “happy” or “blessed.” Each Beatitude consists of two phrases: the condition and the result. In almost every case the condition would have been familiar to the hearer from its Old Testament context, but Jesus teaches a new interpretation. Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of Christian ideals that focus on a spirit of love and humility different from that lauded and appreciated most by “the world.”
Everyone who has ever heard of Jesus and who knows anything about his teaching has probably heard of the Beatitudes. These simple yet profound statements describing the topsy-turvy nature of life in the Kingdom have attracted Christians and non-Christians alike for centuries. The Beatitudes set forth the balanced and multifaceted character of Christians. The Beatitudes reflect Christ's own specification of what the character of every Christian ought to be.
1. What types of people do we normally consider blessed or fortunate?
2. How does our normal description of the blessed or fortunate person compare with those whom Jesus considers blessed?
3. To be "poor in spirit" (v. 3) is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty, our bankruptcy before God. Why is this an indispensable condition for receiving the kingdom of heaven?
What makes it so difficult for us to admit our spiritual poverty?
4. Why would those who are poor in spirit feel a need to mourn? (v. 4)
5. Those who mourn feel sorrow not only for their own sin but also for the sin they see around them. What have you heard in the news lately that causes you to mourn?
6. How do you think those who mourn will be comforted? (v. 4)
7. How would a true estimate of ourselves (vv. 3-4) lead us to be "meek" - to have a humble and gentle attitude toward others? (v. 5)
8. From the world's point of view, why is it surprising that the meek will inherit the earth?
9. What has Jesus said so far that might lead us to hunger and thirst for righteousness? (v. 6)
10. Biblical righteousness has three aspect: legal, moral and social. What does it mean to hunger and thirst for each of these?
11. How would you define "mercy" (v. 7)
12. What do you think Jesus means by the "pure in heart? (v. 8)
13. Why would the promise of seeing God (v. 8) be reserved for those who are pure in heart?
14. Why is it fitting that "the peacemakers" will be called sons of God? (v. 9)
15. What's the difference between being a peacemaker and settling for peace at any price?
16. In spite of our efforts as peacemaking, what does Jesus say we will experience? (vv. 10-12)
17. Why would the world hate the kind of people described in the Beatitudes?
18. How have the Beatitudes challenged you to be different?