5:1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside [allowed Him to speak to many people without a public address system] and sat down [rabbis typically sat down to teach]. His disciples [the Twelve; Gr. mathetai means pupil or learner, thus also suggesting all believers present on that day] came to him,
5:2 and he began to teach them, saying [the following beatitudes (Latin word beatitudo means “a state of blessedness”) describe how Christ’s followers should live]:
5:3 “Blessed [Gr. makarioi means more than happiness; word refers to inner peace and security regardless of external circumstances] are the poor [Gr. ptochoi means absolute or abject poverty as opposed to Gr. word penes which refers to someone who works to provide for his needs but has nothing left over] in spirit [indicates that Jesus was not talking about those who lack material possessions but rather those aware of their own spiritual poverty and who trust entirely in God’s mercy and help; cf. Lk. 18:11-13], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [the poor in spirit allow Jesus to be their King].
5:4 Blessed are those who mourn [Gr. penthountes is strongest word for mourning; those who mourn for their own sins (what their sins have done to them and to God); those who mourn as a result of suffering], for they will be comforted [cf. Isa. 61:2; Latin cum fortis means to give strength or power to someone; cf. Rev. 21:4; Gr. paraklethesontai].
5:5 Blessed are the meek [or gentle; this word occurs three other times in NT (cf. Matt. 11:29; 21:5; 1 Pet. 3:4); do not think too little or too highly of themselves; those who are self-controlled and disciplined; power under control], for they will inherit the earth [cf. Rev. 21–22 re: new heaven and new earth].
Note: Someone wisely said, “If you think it is weak to be meek, then try being meek for a week.”
5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst [these are our most demanding appetites; to have an intense longing] for righteousness [personal righteousness (pleasing God by living a life of obedience; the defeat of sin in their own lives); righteousness for the world (the defeat of sin in the world); to be righteous, do what is right, and see right done], for they will be filled [spiritually satisfied].
5:7 Blessed are the merciful [Gr. eleemon means active pity; those who are kind, sympathetic, understanding, and who are grieved by the pain of others; do what they can to help others who are in pain], for they will be shown mercy.
5:8 Blessed are the pure [means unmixed, unadulterated, without alloy] in heart [integrity and sincerity of heart; a heart with unmixed motives], for they will see God [spiritually in this world (cf. 1 Cor. 2:12-14) and face-to-face in eternity (cf. Rev. 22:4)].
5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers [those who promote peace and help to quiet strife; bridge builders], for they will be called sons of God.
5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness [cf. 1 Pet. 2:20; 3:13-14; 4:12-19], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil [false reports] against you because of me [cf. Matt. 10:18; 24:9; Jn. 15:20; 16:2].
5:12 Rejoice and be glad [or exult], because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets [e.g., Elijah (1 Kings 19:2,13-14); Micaiah (1 Kings 22:26-27); Jeremiah (Jer. 37:17; 38:6)] who were before you [cf. Parable of the Tenants in Matt. 21:33-46].
5:13 “You are the salt [a seasoning; preservative: prevents and retards decay, combats deterioration; believers are to combat moral and spiritual decay, but can only do so if they retain their virtue] of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness [tasteless, insipid, inability to fulfill its purpose], how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled [to tread down] by men.
5:14 “You are the light [dispels darkness; light enables others to see what they otherwise would be unable to see; those who possess the light are to transmit the light; Christ is the true “light of the world” (Jn. 8:12); believers cannot shine apart from Christ] of the world. A city on a hill [visible location] cannot be hidden.
5:15 Neither do people light a lamp [small oil-filled lamps used to illuminate home] and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
5:16 In the same way, let your light [good deeds; cf. Prov. 3:3-4] shine before men, that they may see your good deeds [conduct; everything we are/do should reflect the mind and will of God] and [to the end that] praise your Father in heaven.
5:21 “You have heard that it was said [by interpreters of the law] to the people long ago [earlier generations], ‘Do not murder [Ex. 20:13], and anyone who murders will be subject to [to be liable] judgment.’
5:22 But I tell you [this phrase underscored the authority of Jesus over the interpretation of the law; Jesus expanded limited interpretation; Jesus traced the deed to the underlying evil disposition of the heart] that anyone who is angry [kind of anger that devalues human worth; anger is the seed of murder] with his brother [cf. 1 Jn. 3:15; Matt. 5:23-24; Eph. 4:26-27] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says [illustration of name calling that belittles others] to his brother [not to be seen as limited to male siblings], ‘Raca [Aramaic derogatory expression; term of extreme contempt for a person’s head (“you idiot / moron / empty head / blockhead”)],’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool [Gr. moreh: English term “moron” derived from this word; expresses contempt for a person’s heart/character (“you scoundrel”)]!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell [eternal judgment; Gr. gehenna: the city dump of Jerusalem, a picture of the final place of judgment for the wicked].
5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery [Ex. 20:14; sex outside of marriage].’
5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks [to gaze, to stare] at a woman lustfully [desire to have illicit sexual relations with another; attitude leads to action; this commandment (7th) must be interpreted in light of the 10th commandment, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” (Ex. 20:17)] has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor [Lev. 19:18] and [what follows is not included in OT reference] hate your enemy.’
5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies [this statement must have startled Jesus’ audience; cf. Lk. 10:25-17] and pray [tap into source of strength that can help you love difficult people] for those who persecute you,
5:45 that [in order that] you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.