What does it mean to be happy? Jesus tells us in his sermon on the mount with what we call the Beatitudes.
“The constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness… You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin
“I’ve often said, the only thing standing between me and happiness is me.”
– Steve Martin
“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.”
– John Lubbock
Happiness and the Beatitudes
~ What Makes You Happy?
– Physical Possessions?
~ God DOES want you to be happy. The question is if we know where happiness comes from.
– We’ve been sold a lie
– The American Dream
– The Carrot on a Stick syndrome
– The pot at the end of the rainbow?
~ Jesus actually teaches us how to be happy
– Matthew 5:1-12
~ Understanding the Beatitudes
– Beatitudes – Comes from the Latin translation of the word “blessed”: Beatus, meaning to be happy.
– In Greek: Makarios – also means to be happy.
– Often used in relation to positive choices: John 13:17, Acts 26:2, Romans 14:22
– The beatitudes are delivered in Hebrew poetry using a method called Parallelism
– 9 different beatitudes: Not 9 groups of people, 9 characteristics you should acquire. Each has a cause and effect
~ First Introverted Parallelism (thought sandwich)
– v3 and v5 are parallel. The meat of this outward focus is mourning for others (v4)
– Poor is ptochos or underserving or a beggar.
– This is meekness which = v5.
– These are statements of cause and effect not rewards. V3 by humbling yourself you achieve heaven in your heart. V5 by humbling yourself you already have everything the earth can offer.
– The meat of this sandwich is an outward result in mourning for others. By showing empathy to others you are comforted in your own misgivings. Look at examples of the time of mourning (Shivah, sackcloth, ashes, wailing, renting)
~ Second Introverted Parallel (Matthew 5:6-9)
– v6 and v8 are parallel. The meat of this sandwich is mercy (v7) and peacemaking (v9)
– Just like v3 a reference to need is implied. Righteousness comes from Christ himself and in him we have rest.
– When we receive the heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), we see God (Jesus)
– The result is mercy (v7). (Micah 6:8)
– The second result of a righteousness heart is peacemaking (v9) (James 3:16-18)
~ Third Parallel is called a Synonymous Parallel (Matthew 5:10-12)
– Happiness is achievable even in persecution
– Righteousness outweighs persecution because of who and whereit comes from (v1)
– The rejoicing and gladness exists because you are in righteous company.