According to Got Questions, the Beatitudes are the eight declarations of blessedness spoken by Jesus at the beginning of his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–12), each beginning with "Blessed are . . ."
The Greek word translated “blessed” means “happy, blissful” or, literally, “to be enlarged.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the word to refer to more than a superficial happiness; in this context, blessed refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity.
The happiness is a deep joy of the soul. Those who experience the first aspect of a beatitude (poor, mourn, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure, peacemakers, and persecuted) will also experience the second aspect of the beatitude (kingdom of heaven, comfort, inherit the earth, filled, mercy, see God, called sons of God, inherit the kingdom of heaven).
The blessed have a share in salvation and have entered the kingdom of God, experiencing a foretaste of heaven. Another possible rendering of the beginning of each beatitude is “O the bliss [or blessedness] of . . .”
Jesus' Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple and his rewards, both present and future. The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still "outside the kingdom."
It was on a mountainside that Jesus spoke to many who'd followed him. His sermon to them, called the Beatitudes, including his complete Sermon, which tells all of us how we must live. This three-part Bible reading, put into a movie format, covers all of this gospel's Scripture: Matthew 5:1 through 8:1.
Full-Length Movie — Parts 1, 2, and 3
Part 1 (only 8 minutes)
Matthew 5:1 † Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . ."
Part 2 (9 minutes)
Matthew 5:42 † “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, . . ."
Part 3 (5 minutes)
Matthew 7:5 † "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. . ."
In this special video, thanks to The Bible Project, we can see and appreciate the mysterious promised deliverer whom Matthew revealed. He, the Messiah, would one day come to confront evil and rescue humanity.
Matthew, one of the twelve apostles, is believed by the majority of Bible scholars today to have written this gospel. He, whose name means "gift of the Lord," was a tax collector who, when personally called by Jesus, left his tax collector's booth to follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9–13). He's called by his other name, Levi, in Mark's and Luke's gospels.
Date and Place of Writing
Because of this gospel's Jewish slant, many believe that it was written in Palestine while others think that it had been written in Syrian Antioch. Based on its Jewish characteristics, it was possibly written in the early church period, perhaps the beginning of 50 AD, when the gospel was preached only to Jews (see Acts 11:19). However, others date it later, after Mark's gospel had been in circulation for some time.
Clearly, seeing that Matthew wrote this gospel in Greek, his readers were obviously Greek-speaking people, including Jews. Although much of what Matthew expresses is aimed at the understandings of Jewish readers, he didn't allow his gospel to be restricted to the Jewish culture. In fact, it often highlighted non-Jewish events, practices, and mores, giving it a more comprehensive, all-encompassing presentation.
Without doubt, Matthew made a stern effort to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus was their Messiah. All three synoptic gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) cite relevant Old Testament Scriptures, however, Matthew also includes a variety of excerpts meant to conclusively reinforce the basic theme of this narrative, that Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT prophecies about the coming Messiah. In addition, because Matthew was writing to Jews, it was important for him to begin his gospel by identifying Jesus' Davidic lineage, referring to him as "the son of David."
Outline . . .
The First Eight Chapters of Matthew's Gospel
• Sermon on the Mount
(1) relationship of subjects of kingdom to self (5:1–16),
(2) relationship of subjects of kingdom to Law (5:17–48),
(3) relationship of subjects of kingdom to God (6), and
(4) relationship of children of King to each other (7)
9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”