Matthew 5:7 meaning

Jesus’s statement (D’) is the second central theme of Jesus’s chiasm. It focuses on Jesus’s Kingdom platform of the mercy principle: Be merciful and receive mercy.

Jesus’s statement (D’) Makarios are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy, corresponds with (D) Makarios are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. This completes the centerpiece of the “Beatitudes” chiasm, which is its primary point. Choosing to live righteously yields enormous benefits. It is the path to complete fulfillment (being blessed, Makarios) as a human.

The counterpart to righteousness in Jesus’s Makarios chiasm is mercy. Mercy is a key theme throughout the Old Testament and it is a key theme throughout Jesus’s New Covenant as well.

The three main terms that are translated mercy in the Old Testament are “Channuwn” (H2587), “Rachuwm” (H7349), and “Checed” (H2617). “Channuwn” describes pity and gracious generosity (Proverbs 14:21). “Rachuwm” depicts familial bonds of affection (a father to his son—Jeremiah 31:20; or a mother to her nursing infant—Isaiah 49:15; or a husband to his wife—Hosea 2:19; or Joseph among his brothers—Genesis 43:30). “Checed” describes a steadfast and faithful love (Psalm 100:5).

All three terms are combined in several Old Testament verses (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13). One verse that contains all three was uttered by the prophet Jonah, “I knew that You are a gracious (‘Channuwn’) and compassionate (‘Rachuwm’) God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness (‘Checed’), and one who relents concerning calamity” (Jonah 4:2). Mercy is definitely a characteristic of God.

Jesus announces that those who are merciful are Makarios (happy and fulfilled). It is not difficult to see why. For those who are merciful shall receive mercy. This idea, this mercy principle is repeated time and again by Jesus, not only within this sermon but throughout His ministry. Jesus’s mercy principle is the crux of Jesus’s prayer in Matthew 6: “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Mercy is also the focal point of Jesus’s reemphasis which immediately follows His prayer: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15).

A short while later Jesus affirms the mercy principle by reframing its truth in the negative: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).

Even the golden rule follows the mercy principal, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Be merciful and receive mercy.

Jesus repeats the mercy principle in His parables of the unforgiving debtor (Matthew 18:23-35).

And of course, Jesus practices what He preaches, even without needing forgiveness Himself. Jesus forgave the paralytic (Mark 2:5). He forgave the sinful woman who washed His feet (Luke 7:48). He forgave the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11). He forgave those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34). Jesus the Messiah came to forgive. And He teaches His followers to forgive.

The kingdoms of this world are built on blame and condemnation. When something goes wrong someone must be blamed and punished. This is a wretched system. And wretched are those who are judgmental for they shall be condemned.

But Jesus teaches that when someone is merciful (forgives another of the wrong done against them) they enter into a blessing (Makarios) because they too shall receive mercy (from the King). In a world of wrongs and sin, mercy is often the unmistakable act of love. Mercy runs counter to the systems behind the kingdoms of this world. But mercy is a major platform in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thus, completes the centerpiece of the Makarios chiasm. The primary focal point of gaining human fulfillment is to pursue righteousness as though your life depended upon it. In fact, your spiritual fulfillment does. When we play our role in the Body according to our gifts, and in obedience to the Head, we are Makarios. If we obey the Head, we will have a merciful attitude toward all the other members of the Body. When they fail, we forgive. And when we forgive, we are forgiven by the Head (Jesus).

5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

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