“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matt. 5:7
Jesus the Poet
The original audience would have recognized the Beatitudes as a form of Hebrew poetry. They form couplets, grouped together in pairs.
- The poor in spirit, mourning over their sin
- The meek who hunger and thirst for righteousness
- The merciful who are pure in heart
- The peacemakers who are persecuted for righteousness sake
The first section of the Sermon on the Mount is a chiasmus, making a point larger through a reversal of two or more related clauses.
- Blessed are the poor and spirit and those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are those who mourn sin and are peacemakers, for they shall inherit the Holy Spirit and resemble God.
- Blessed are the meek and pure in heart, for they shall know God and experience His promises.
- Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness and are merciful, for they shall find satisfaction.
A Hebrew Perspective
Although the New Testament is written in common Greek, Jesus may have been speaking Aramaic or Hebrew when delivering the sermon. The Hebrew word used for merciful is hesed, meaning a strong and steadfast love.
Blessed are those who have a strong, steadfast love for God and man.
A Declaration Worth Dying For
When George Washington heard the Declaration of Independence was signed he requested it read aloud to his soldiers so they would know what many would be dying for.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
A Kingdom Worthy of Life
When Jesus declares the meaning of life in the Kingdom He uses the words poor, mourning, meek, and merciful. He is not painting a pleasant picture of Kingdom living. At the beginning of His ministry He tells the crowd,
“Look, you want to join me, this is what it looks like.”
People were expecting a military deliverer but Jesus dashes their hopes. Blessed are the merciful. Israel did not want a merciful leader but a conquering leader.
Blessed are those with strong, steadfast love, for they shall receive mercy.
Recognize your need for mercy and ask God to give you a strong, steadfast love. Display mercy to others!
How is strong, steadfast love being displayed in you? Share your comments below.