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Matthew 5:6-12

Blessed are those who are focused on what God cares about.

Tom Faletti

April 20, 2024

Matthew 5:6-12 – For context, re-read Matthew 5:1-12: The “Sermon on the Mount”


In our last study, we looked at the first 3 beatitudes that appear in what has been called Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount.”  Today we will look at the remaining beatitudes.


Having read the entire list of beatitudes, what do you think is the overall message Jesus is trying to communicate in this discussion about what makes a person “blessed”?


Verse 6


What does it mean, to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”?


In general in our lives, how is hungering or thirsting for something different from simply wanting it?


Barclay says that in the Greek language, the ordinary grammatical structure for the words hunger and thirst connote a desire for some – I hunger for some bread, not the whole loaf; I thirst for some water, not the whole pitcher.  But in this sentence spoken by Jesus, the grammatical construction connotes a desire for all of it, for the whole thing – in this case, for total righteousness, for being wholly righteousness (William Barclay, Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, p. 96).


Do we truly hunger or thirst for righteousness?  Or do we tend to just want some righteousness?


Is there something we can do to become more like Jesus’s image of a person who hungers for total righteousness?


There is a promise associated with this hungering.  What does it mean when he says that they will be “filled” (5:6 NRSV) or “satisfied” (NABRE)?  How can we become filled to the point that we are no longer hungry for righteousness?  What does that mean?


Luke’s 6:21 says, “Blessed are you who are now hungry, / for you will be satisfied” (NABRE) or “filled” (NRSV).  That is a literal hunger.  Why would Matthew focus on a spiritual interpretation rather than Luke’s literal experience of hunger?  What value is there in Matthew’s version of this beatitude?


It is very possible that Jesus said it both ways at different times.  What does Matthew’s choice of words suggest about his audience, compared to Luke and his audience?


Verse 7


What does it mean to be merciful?


How can I become more merciful?


How does it feel to receive mercy?  What is that experience like?


What kind of mercy do you particularly hope you will receive, or in what kinds of situations do you most hope you will encounter mercy?


Are those situations perhaps the situations where you also need to give mercy?


Verse 8


What does it mean to be “pure in heart” (NRSV) or “clean of heart” (NABRE)?


Pure has many good connotations.  We often focus on purity in our conduct or behavior.  There is also the idea of having a pure heart in the way we relate with others.  What does that kind of pure heart look like?


Purity of heart also can be considered in our relationship with ourselves, in an honesty with ourselves.  What does that look like?


What does the promise mean, that they will “see God”?


Do you think this opportunity to “see God” is all in the future, or is there a sense in which the pure in heart experience it partially in their present life?


Why is purity necessary in order to see God?


In what sense do the pure in heart see God in a way that other, less pure Christians might not?


What can I do to become more pure or clean of heart?


Verse 9


What is “peace”?


“Peace” in Greek is eiréné, but the Jews would have had in mind the Hebrew word shalom, which does not mean the absence of strife but the present of all that is good (William Barclay, Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, p. 103) or a “total well-being” ((Benedict T. Viviano, O.P., “The Gospel According to Matthew,” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, para. 24, p. 640).


What is a “peacemaker”?


What do you have to do to be a peacemaker?


Is it possible to be so focused on keeping the peace that you fail to address problems that then grow and break the peace?  Is peacemaking sometimes a struggle?  If so, how can we stay focused on peacemaking, and not just avoiding strife?

Barclay tells us that the Jewish rabbis said that peacemakers are the people who “establish right relationships between man and man” (William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, p. 105) – i.e., who bring people together and resolve conflicts.  He contrasts “peace-makers” with “trouble-makers.”


In what ways are you a peacemaker?


Are there ways that you would like to be more consistent or effective as a peacemaker?  Explain.


How can we become better peacemakers?


What promise comes to the peacemakers, and what does it mean?

They will be called children of God when all is said and done – not necessarily in the heat of the peacemaking struggle.  The phrase is literally “sons of God.”  They are like God or reflect the lineage of God because they are doing the work of God.


In what ways is God a peacemaker, so that being a peacemaker is being like God?


Verses 10-12


What kind of persecution is rewarded with this blessing – i.e., according to v. 10, for what are they being persecuted?


What do you know of the sufferings of the earlier martyrs?  What persecutions did they suffer, and why?

They were executed in many gruesome ways, mainly for not offering the required sacrifice to Caesar.  They could not acknowledge Caesar as Lord because for them, only Jesus was Lord.


Jesus elaborates on this beatitude in vv. 11-12, shifting from talking about “they” to talking to “you.”  In v. 11, when are “you” blessed?


Why are you blessed when you are persecuted?


Notice that Jesus does not name a promise in this beatitude the way he did in the other beatitudes.  The promise is implicit – that you will be counted with the prophets.  Why is that a high reward?


What do you think are the benefits or rewards that come with being persecuted?

Some of the rewards include: the chance to live with God forever, to be counted among the prophets, to know that you were able to stay faithful to the God you love, and to know that you were participating in God’s great work on earth.


Translations that use the word “glad” are understating the level of joy Jesus is suggesting here.  The Greek word means to exult – nearly the same word Mary uses in her Magnificat when she says, “my soul rejoices.”  It comes from two words that mean “much” and “leaping” – i.e. to leap for joy (see, for example, William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, p. 112, and “21. agalliaó,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Bible Hub,


What would it take for you to see persecution as a cause for rejoicing?


How, if at all, are we persecuted in our time?


What can we take from this exploration of the blessings of being persecuted?


Looking back at the whole expanse of the beatitudes, what key points do you see?  What stands out to you as especially important?  What is most important to remember?


What beatitude is God calling you to live out more fully?


What can you do to become more a beatitude person?



Take a step back and consider this:


The beatitudes are just the beginning of the story Matthew and Jesus are telling us about kingdom of heaven and what the life of a Christian looks like.


What attracts you about a Savior who starts with the Beatitudes as an introduction to life with God?


What troubles you about this as his starting point?


What do you think Jesus would say to you about what attracts you and what concerns you here?



Click here for the bibliography.

Copyright © 2024, Tom Faletti (Faith Explored, This material may be reproduced in whole or in part without alteration, for nonprofit use, provided such reproductions are not sold and include this copyright notice or a similar acknowledgement that includes a reference to Faith Explored and See for more materials like this.

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