Since the days of the preacher John Chrysostom in the 300s, expositors have realized there is a distinct logical order to the Beatitudes–the “Blessed” statements of Matthew 5:1-12. Here is my paraphrase of the eight Beatitudes with which Jesus began His ministry. I have put in parenthesis the eight key words from the text. (For a full transcript of my message on the Beatitudes, click here).
Blessed are the people who realize they are moral and spiritual beggars (poor in spirit) and who feel enormous sorrow over their sin (mourn) and who are willing to humble themselves before God, recognizing that He alone can help them (meek). These Jesus-followers are eager to become the kind of people God wants them to be (hunger and thirst for righteousness)—merciful in heart (merciful), pure in thought (pure), helping others discover peace with one another and peace with God (peacemakers). Though it makes them different and incurs persecution (persecuted), it brings them indescribable blessing and joy; and great is their reward in heaven.