Matthew 8:19

And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

The master taught us that we should make our priority right that is to seek first God's kingdom and righteousness before pursuing everything else (Matthew 6:33). The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 papers that psysical needs such as breathing, water, food, sex and shelter are the most fundamental and required to be satisfied first in his hierarchical model of needs which are like a pyramid with the pysical level of needs at the bottom, and self-actualization at the top. By our common sense thinking and observation, this seems to be true. But, humans are different and it has an even more important and more fundamental basis of our life that must first be satisfied that is having a right relationship with God. Unlike animals, humans are created in the image of God. Because of sin, we all have a broken relationship with God. Without a right relationship with God, our soul can never be satisfied. We may invest our whole self struggling to pursuit and climb the hierarchical pyramid of needs. Most failed but some may think they reach the top. One thing for sure, this top experience is only temporary if it really exists because death will surely come and take away this so call the level of self-actualization (Matthew 16:26). Not only this, there will be judgement and all humans need to give an account for the things they do in their lives (Hebrews 9:27). Unfortunately, many people ignore this spiritual level all together or put this level to a low priority. The master Jesus points out this common error and told us to make the pursuit of God's kingdom and His righteousness the utmost important thing and He introuduces Himself as the way to achieve this fundamental requirement of life (John 14:6).

John 14:24

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Mark 1:22

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 16:26

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Hebrews 9:27

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

John 14:6

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The world's views of happiness consist of things the world may provide such as prosperity, power, freedom, achievement of self-directed goals, fame or high regard given by others, and with good health to enjoy them. These things may not be bad, but they miss the vital ingredient of resolving the problem of sin in one's life and the broken relationship with God. Jesus taught that the way of happiness or blessing starts with a realization of spiritual bankruptcy (Matthew 5:3). We can be decent and law abiding human beings but, in view of God's holy standard, we are all deficient spiritually. The first right attitude is a very humble opinion on our spiritual condition and look to God for forgiveness and help. For God is merciful and gracious and even the door of the Kingdom of heaven will open to remorseful and repentent sinners (Matthew 5:3).

Our realization of our spiritual bankruptcy will lead to the natural consequence of mourning as Jesus taught (Matthew 5:4a). We tend to be sad for loss of loved ones, and properties or unfulfilled goals and dreams. Jesus was teaching here about sadness about our sin before God and how much we failed to live up to His image inherent in us. God values this sadness and it will lead to repentence and His forgiveness will bring us real comfort (2 Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 5:4b).

Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:4

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

2 Corinthians 7:10

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

One reason that many Jewish people rejected Jesus as the Messiah whom they had been waiting for was that Jesus did not overturn the oppression by the Roman Empire they had been facing and established Israel as a powerful and prosperous nation. Instead, Jesus appeared as a humble carpenter's son and they rejected His teachings (Luke 24:44-47) for they could not accept God's plan of salvantion in human history according to His infinite wisdom and love. Jesus also taught about meekness as a blessed attribute that God will reward, namely to inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Being meek is not being weak and cowardly but to show gentleness in human relationships which are bound to create conflicts. A meek person will control his or her bitterness and let God take over and guide him or her rather to release the distructive force of aggressive response. A great example is the meekness was Abraham showed towards Lot when their servants engaged in conflicts over the control of land and resources for their flocks. Abraham, though a senior, let Lot pick the terrioty of his choice first to avoid any conflict (Genesis 13:8). Being meek is also a relevant attribute of a person who realized that he is spiritually bankrupt and relied totally on God's forgiveness and restoration. He is a humble person and sympathetic towrads the weakness of other people. He or she tends to be loving and forgiving, let alone showing aggression towards others. In fact, God will one day take over the world and sin will be done away with and judgements will be served in Jesus' second coming in His glory and power.

Luke 24:44-47

44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." 45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Genesis 13:8

8 So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left."

When repentant sinners realized their past was filled with unrighteousness and failed meserably in light of God's holiness, they would be sorrowful before God and asked for forgiveness. God values the humility and repentance of sinners and their sins will be forgiven based on the sacrificial redemptive work of Christ. Sinners are declared righteous when they trust in the Lord Jesus who has died in the cross for them. Sinners may still have to pay for the requirements of justice due to earthly legal system, for instance, serving terms in prisons. But, the most critical and eternal justice requirement, that is God's justice requirement, has been settled by Jesus (Romans 3:21-24). Jesus then taught us that repentant sinners will not just stop at being sorrowful, humble and meek, though they have been comforted and justified by God. But, they will thrive to seek the righteousness of God (Matthew 5:6) that is to live a new life pleasing to God. This is a natural consequence of salvation for humans redeemed from a spiritually dark and blind situation will awaken and seek to restore the original image of God that is inherent in a human being. And it is the Holy Spirit who lives in every believer's life that accomplishes it and the life of believers will manifest this change as if he or she is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Romans 3:21-24

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

As a believer in Christ progresses in spiritual life, the grace of God will overflow from his or her life. The first four blessings Jesus taught concern the inward conditions of a disciple. The fifth blessing Jesus taught concerns the change in outward view towards others, namely being merciful. It is a blessing to be merciful to others as we receive mercy from God (Matthew 5:7). Mercy may mean forgiveness extended to others who has done us wrong. It can also mean the giving of physical resources towards needy people. Most importantly, it means the care of spiritual needs of others who are spiritually blind and wondering in the world without a right relationship with God. The sufferings of the fallen world are great, but they are beyond compare to the loss of salvation grace God gives to the world through Jesus Christ. When Jesus saw a large crowd of people wondering like lost sheep without a shepherd, the very first thing Jesus did was to give them the words of God (Mark 6:34). Jesus introduced Himself as the one sent from God. Jesus also performed the miracle of five loaves and two fish that fed more than five thousand people. Even the miracle itself was not performed solelyy to fill the physical needs, but let the people know that Jesus was the one who said He was. Although many of the people that enjoyed the miraculous meal could only take the physical benefit and missed the spiritual significance of the miracle (JOhn 6:26-27).

Jesus taught that purity in heart is a blessed attribute for people with pure heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). Heart concerns our inner motives, values and thoughts and is invisible from the outside although one's behaviours may reflect what the heart is about. Jesus points out that where we invest ourselves and place our aspirations in reflects what our heart realy values (Matthew 6:21). It is the heart that God will look at and our inner thoughts are visible to Him all the time. A positive example is Nathannael, one of the chosen disciples of Jesus, was seen by Jesus as a true Israelite for within him there is no falsehood (John 1:47). A negative example was some religious Pharisees who looked good from the outside by their clothing, lawful behaviors, and their prominent community status. However, Jesus saw through their hearts and pointed out the inconsistent conditions inside (Matthew 23:27). Also, we should understand that according to God's holy standard, an impure thought is considered sin even without actual action such as lustul thinking (Matthew 5:28).

Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

John 1:47

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."

Matthew 23:27

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.

Matthew 5:28

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Purity in heart is a blessing for it is a prerequisite to be able to see God. The Bible teaches us that no one living in this life be able to see God. As a matter of fact, a great faithful servant of God Moses pledged to see God's glory, but was rejected for it was simply impossible to see God and live (Exodus 33:20). However, Job being declared righteous by God, suffered greatly due to Satan's affliction revealed to us in Job 19:26 that he would be able to see God in his resurrected body (Job 19:26). It is indeed a blessing to be able to see God for it implies glorious resurrection and eternal life.

Exodus 33:20

But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."

Job 19:26

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;

Jesus then taught that peacemakers are blessed for they are called the sons of God (Matthew 5:9). One thing this world does not have is peace. People are at war all the time: individuals between individuals, tribes between tribes, and nations between nations. Conflicts even within a family are common. The reason for lack of peace in this fallen world is sin such that people are basically self-centered and incline to pursue benefits and controls even in the expense of others. Enmities and struggles are the natural consequences. The peace Jesus taught about is based on the fundamental truth of the gospels. There will be no true peace between people as long as people live according to sinful nature. The ultimate peaceful solution is being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit when people are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ Jesus and become the children of God and they too become peacemakers in the world (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

The last blessed character of a Christian Jesus taught in the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount is the evidence of strong faith and obedience to God's words. For he or she is ready to stand firm and be persecuted because of asserting the words of God as truth in this fallen world which is controlled by the ungodly and satanic power. Jesus emphasises that this is a double blessing for he or she will enter the kingdom of heaven and receive a great reward (Matthew 5:10-12). All these beatitudes are not the naturial characters or cultivated by our own efforts and determination in our old sinful nature, but manifest in a transformed life of believers of Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Matthew 5:10-12

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.