The Eighth Beatitude

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The eighth beatitude announces an eschatological blessing on those who are persecuted not so much because they are persecuted but because they are committed to righteousness in spite of being persecuted. Many feel victimized or persecuted but 1Peter 3:13 reminds us, “Who can harm you if you devote yourselves to doing good? If you suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.” Thus, the struggle against the unrighteous, unjust oppressive structures must continue remaining in righteousness in spite of being persecuted. In this paper let us see about the persecution for the sake of righteousness and the blessedness of the persecuted and the kingdom of Heaven. 1. The Sermon on the Mount

The first and longest of the five speeches is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. The introduction to the Sermon on the Mount contains four sections: the settings (5:1-2), the Beatitudes (5:3-12), the identity of Jesus’ followers (5:13-16), and the teaching about the Law (5:17-20). The setting (5:1-2) on the mountain stands in contrast to the plain that serves as the setting of the Lukan sermon (6:17-20a). By placing this first and most dramatic instance of Jesus’ teaching on the mountain, Matthew sought to evoke biblical ideas about mountains as places of divine revelation and about Mount Sinai as the place where God’s will for Israel was revealed. But note that Jesus gives the teaching; he does not receive it as Moses did. To whom is the Sermon on the Mount addressed? The story-line of Matthew’s Gospel indicates that it was addressed to all Israel gathered to hear Jesus. The teaching and healing ministry that Jesus had exercised in Galilee drew people to him from all over (4:23-25). While the disciples have a prominent place (5:1), Jesus addresses the crowds. At the end Matthew notes that the crowds were astonished at his teaching (7: 28-29). According to Matthew, Jesus placed before Israel his teachings and challenged it to accept them, act upon them and to find the authentic interpretation of God’s will revealed in the Torah. 2. Beatitude

The term beatitude originates from the Latin beatitudo which equals blessed. The Hebrew berakah equates it with blessing. The beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-11) summarize Jesus’ own way of life. They invite others to live in the same way. The beatitudes are the way to God and enable us to find profound, lasting joy. Beatitude is a declaration of blessedness on the ground of some virtue. The beatitudes express a situation of supreme happiness and salvation; at the same time they also refer some necessity for happiness. 3. The Structure of the Beatitudes

There are many structures created by many authors for the beatitudes. But here, let us see the structure made by the two key terms. Kingdom and righteousness (gift and task) are the two key words that enable us to see the basic structure of the carefully constructd text that is the beatitudes. The first and last of these speak of the promise of the kingdom here and now (the other six beatitudes use the future tense). Each block of four beatitudes (containing thirty six words in the Greek text) ends with the mention of righteousness of justice: 1. to the poor belongs the kingdom of heaven

the meek will inherit the earth
they who mourn will be comforted
they who hunger and thirst for
righteousness will be satisfied

2. the merciful will be shown mercy
the pure in heart will see God
the peacemakers will be called children of God
to them who are persecuted for
the sake of righteousness belongs the kingdom of heaven
4. The Persecuted Ones
The Greek word used for Persecute is diôkô, but Matthew uses its perfect participle word dediôgmenoi. The perfect tense indicates the present state resulting from a past action, conveying practically “those who bear the wounds of persecution.” The word may not refer to killing as such, but may refer to continuous harassment...
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