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... those who are poor in spirit or sad.

When you read the New Testament in your Bible, doesn’t it seem hard to understand some of the things Jesus says? I can only imagine the faces of Jesus’ neighbors who had gathered to listen to his famous Sermon on the Mount. That’s where Jesus first spoke the Beatitudes.

Beatitudes? What are those?

Even though the word “Beatitudes” is pronounced like “bee-AT-itudes,” Jesus wasn’t telling them to change their attitudes. Beatitudes are blessings. Jesus was telling all his neighbors in the crowd how God would bless them or make them happy.

Let’s go through the first two Beatitudes …

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Basically, Jesus is telling the crowd that those who are not too proud, and who recognize they need Jesus will inherit God’s kingdom. Being humble means you’re not too proud to say, “I’m sorry.” And you accept forgiveness. 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

How can anyone be happy when mourning means you are sad? Grief is not fun, but Jesus is saying that God will comfort you and you won’t be sad anymore. We know from other verses in the Bible, such as Revelation 21:4, that in heaven, God will wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain.

The Beatitudes give us a glimpse of what it will be like — how peaceful, happy and joyful it will be — when we get to heaven, and when Jesus is king over all of the earth.

How about you? Is there something you need to say you’re sorry for? Are you sad about something? If you draw near to God through prayer, you can ask him to lead you and make you into the kind of person who will be blessed in his kingdom. 

Next time, we’ll dive into a couple more of the Beatitudes. See you then!

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Matthew 5:1-12

  • As you read the Beatitudes, think of how you could pass along Jesus’ blessings to your neighbors. For example, how can you comfort a relative or friend who is sad?
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  • If you said or did something that hurt someone, be humble and say you’re sorry.
  • Are you sad about anything? If so, talk to a parent about it. Remember that God will comfort you.
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  • Ask God to comfort you when sad things happen.
  • Thank God for sending his son Jesus to tell people how to know God and be happy.