New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:3 Blessed. The word “blessed” essentially means “happy.” These nine beatitudes thus constitute the believer’s guidelines, as it were, for the pursuit of (true) happiness. The qualities and attributes here enumerated are diametrically opposite to what the ungodly would prescribe for worldly happiness.
5:3 poor. On another occasion, Jesus said, simply: “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20). Thus material poverty can actually be a greater blessing to the believer than riches, as he learns to draw more and more on his heavenly resources. Note also Isaiah 66:2, Psalm 109:21-27; James 2:5.
5:4 mourn. The sorrow of godly people is in contrast with “the sorrow of the world” (II Corinthians 7:10) and may be the result of spiritual enemies (Psalm 55:1-6) or personal affliction (Psalm 102:1-11). True and lasting comfort is promised to all God’s people who mourn (Isaiah 61:3).
5:5 the meek. In the Bible, “meekness” is not the same as “weakness.” Rather, meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and was one of the characteristics of Christ (Matthew 11:29). According to Psalm 37:34, the meek who inherit the earth are synonymous with those who “wait on the LORD, and keep His way.”
5:9 peacemakers. Jesus did not say: “Blessed are the pacifists,” but rather, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” meaning those who make peace. This is the first occurrence of “peace” in the New Testament, and this verse has special significance since Jesus is the only real Peacemaker. It was He who “made peace with the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20). Before there can be peace between man and man, there must be peace between man and God. Since His blood has reconciled God to man, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). His disciples, therefore, can best be peacemakers themselves by urging men to “be ye reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:20).
5:10 they which are persecuted. It seems anomalous to call persecution a blessing, but this is the thrust of many Scriptures (II Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 1:29; Acts 13:50,52; Luke 6:22; II Timothy 2:12; I Peter 4:16; etc.). It is indicated here by Jesus, of course, that such suffering should be “for righteousness’ sake” and “for my sake” (Matthew 5:11), not for foolishness’ sake.