“It is commonly supposed,” writes L. H. Marshall in The Challenge of New Testament Ethics, “that Jesus was in a tranquil and pacific mood when he uttered the Beatitudes—and that, perhaps, is why they so often sound in modern ears like harmless platitudes.
“As a matter of fact they came out of the prophetic soul of Jesus. They reveal his fighting spirit, Each of them is a challenge. They were spoken in an electric atmosphere.—
“They are not calm still ponds, but rushing, roaring mountain torrents, They are surprises, flat contradictions of contemporary ideas. Though some of them are predominantly religious in their emphasis, yet all have ethical implications.”
Read the following verses, which are known as the Beatitudes (from Matthew 5:3-11 and Luke 6:20-22). Consider what each verse tells you about how you should live, and how this compares with other biblical principles you know. Then read the statements after the verse.
Place an X in the box beside any statement with which you agree entirely.
Place only a single slash (/) in the box if you mostly agree with the statement, but with some reservations.
Leave the box empty if you disagree with the statement or don’t understand it.
Your responses should help you think more carefully about the meaning of these words Jesus spoke.
Blessed Are The Poor in Spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
__ I own nothing of true value except my relationship with God and all that it means.
__ Entering God’s kingdom is much easier for a poor man than a rich man.
__ I don’t want to become wealthy, because I know wealth inherently brings with it a greater insensitivity to spiritual reality.
__ By not keeping my life simple I have probably hurt my sensitivity to spiritual truth.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
__ Experiencing sorrow has made it possible for me to live life on a higher plane—morally, emotionally, and spiritually.
__ Experiencing sorrow is not a privilege.
__ I have been truly fortunate because of the suffering I have experienced.
__ No suffering is in vain.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
__ It is wrong for me to seek power and control over other people.
__ Humility has its place, but there are too many people in the world who are excessively gentle.
__ In some ways I have been given a lot of strength, and it would be wrong for me not to use it.
__ The best way for me to influence others is to humbly serve them.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
__ I am fulfilled in my life only when I truly grasp how needy I am.
__ I recognize more and more how entrenched my sinful nature is, and I want more than anything else to overcome it.
__ It is more important for me to accept and enjoy myself than to try to uncover my faults.
__ With God’s help, I have attained a sufficiently mature level of moral behavior.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
__ Dealing out forgiveness for the sins of others is not my concern.
__ We must be careful not to give people more leniency than they deserve.
__ How much I experience God’s mercy is best reflected in the compassion I show toward others.
__ I seldom have the opportunity to show mercy to others.
Blessed are the pure in heart
for they will see God.
__ How much I experience God depends on my inward character.
__ In complete sincerity, with all my heart, I want to do God’s will.
__ No one can see God.
__ I am asking God to create in me a clean heart.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
__ In our world today, it is impossible to make peace.
__ I avoid conflicts with other people, and this is what being a peacemaker basically means.
__ Actively seeking to reconcile others who have conflicts is a true mark of being like God.
__ Nonresistance is the best path to world peace.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
__ I am ready and willing even to die for my faith in Jesus Christ.
__ I want to have the noble experience of suffering for Christ’s sake.
__ By God’s grace, I plan to hold fast to my Christian way of living no matter what it costs me.
__ I don’t really know what it means to suffer for my faith.