Matthew 5:11 MEANING

Matthew 5:11
(11) Blessed are ye.--Here, for the first time, the beatitude is uttered, not as a general law, but as the portion of the listening disciples to whom the Teacher spoke. The words contain three forms, hardly three successive grades, of suffering: (1) the vague contempt. showing itself in gibes and nicknames; (2) persecution generally; (3) deliberate calumnies, such as those of the foul orgies and Thyesteian banquets, which were spread against the believers in Christ in the first two centuries.

Falsely.--The word is absent from the best MSS., and was probably added as a safeguard against the thought that a man might claim the reward of the persecuted, even if really guilty of the crimes laid against him.

For my sake.--Here, again, there is a more emphatic personal directness. For the abstract "righteousness" we have "for my sake." He forewarns His disciples that they must expect persecution if they follow Him; His very name will be the signal and occasion of it (Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12).

Verses 11-16. - Some critics (e.g. Godet, Weiss) think that vers. 13-16 are no part of the original sermon, but only an interweaving of sayings which were originally spoken at other times. This is possible, but external evidence exists only in the case of vers. 13 and 15 (for vers. 14 and 16 are peculiar to Matthew); and even in the case of these verses it is by no means clear (vide infra) that the occasions on which, according to the other Gospels, the sayings were uttered are the more original. Weiss's assertion ('Life,' 2:144), "The remarks in Matthew 5:13-16, bearing on the calling of discipleship,.., cannot belong to the sermon on the mount, carefully as they are there introduced, for the prophesied sufferings of his followers might have made them disloyal," is wholly gratuitous. In fact, the sufferings have been much more strongly spoken of in vers. 11, 12. The disciples are now addressed directly, and are urged to "walk worthily of the vocation wherewith they are called." The mention of those who have endured persecution leads our Lord to warn his disciples not to faint under persecution in any of its forms; they are but entering on the succession of the prophets; their work is that of purifying and preserving and of illuminating; they must therefore allow their character as disciples to appear, as appear it must if they arc true to their position. There is a purpose in this, namely, that men may see their actions, and glorify their Father which is in heaven. Verses 11, 12. - Parallel passage: Luke 6:22, 23. Verse 11. - As ver. 10 spoke of the blessedness of those who had suffered persecution and had endured it, so this verse speaks of the blessedness of those who are suffering from it at the moment, whether it be in act or word. Whilst Christ still keeps up the form of the Beatitudes, he speaks now in the second person, this and the following terse thus forming the transition to his directly addressing those immediately before him. His present audience was not yet among οἱ δεδιωγμένοι, but might already be enduring something of the reproach and suffering now referred to. Revile (ὀνειδίσωσιν); Revised Version, reproach; as also the Authorized Version in Luke 6:22. "Revile" in itself implies moral error in the person that reviles. Not so ὀνειδίζειν (cf. Matthew 11:20; Mark 16:14). Our Lord purposely uses a word which includes, not only mere abuse, but also stern, and occasionally loving, rebuke. Falsely, for my sake. The comma in both the Authorized (Scrivener) and the Revised Versions after "falsely" is opposed to that interpretation (Meyer) which-closely connects ψευδόμενοι with both καθ ὑμῶν and ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ. Ψευδόμενοι is really a modal definition of εἴπωσιν (Sevin, Weiss), and ἔνεκεν ἐμοῦ goes with the whole sentence "when men," etc. for my sake. In ver. 10 he had said ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης; here he directly speaks of himself. In Luke 6. the phrase is transitional, "for the Son of man's sake." In Matthew 4:19 he had claimed to be the Source of power for service; here he claims to be the Object of devotion. His "Messianic consciousness" (Meyer) is, at even this early stage of his ministry, fully developed (cf. also vers. 17, 22). It is possible that Hebrews 11:26 (vide Rendall, in loc.) and 1 Peter 4:14 refer to this expression.

5:3-12 Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1. The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.Blessed are ye when men shall revile you,.... These words are particularly directed to the disciples of Christ, and are designed to inform them, that they should not be exempted from reproach and persecution, and to animate and fortify them against it; and are prophetical of what they, and the first Christians particularly, were to endure for Christ's sake. Men should "revile" them, speak very reproachfully of them, brand them with infamy, and load them with disgrace; and

persecute you from place to place, by ill usage of all sorts;

and shall say all manner of evil against you: the worst things they could think of and invent, and all of them; such as that they were seditious persons, enemies to the commonwealth, and the public good, guilty of sacrilege, incest, and murder but what would serve to relieve them under these heavy charges is, that they were "falsely" laid; there was not a word of truth in them; wherefore their own hearts would not reproach them; but all were the malicious lies of men, invented on purpose to bring them and Christianity into disgrace: and that they were brought against "them for Christ's sake", for his name's sake, for the sake of his Gospel and interest: the treatment they meet with is on his account, and the same that he himself met with; the like reproaches fell on him, which will be all wiped off from him and them another day; when they will appear to be the blessed persons, and their revilers and persecutors the unhappy ones. The Jews have some sayings not unlike these, and which may serve to illustrate them:

"ajal aht alw ajwl aht, "be thou cursed", or bearing curses, but do not curse (g). The gloss upon it is, it is better to be one of them that are cursed, than to be of them that curse; for, at the end, the curse causeless returns to him that curseth.''

Again (h),

"for ever let a man be of them that are persecuted, and not of them that persecute; of them that suffer injury, and not of them that do it.''

Once more (i),

"they that suffer injury, and do it not; who hear reproach, and do not return it; who act from love, and rejoice in chastisements, of them the Scripture says, "let them that love him", &c. Judges 5:31.''

(g) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 49. 1.((h) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 93. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Deyot. c. 5. sect. 13. (i) T. Bab. Sabbat. fol. 88. 2. Yoma, fol. 23. 1. & Gittin, fol. 36. 2.

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