Matthew 5:7 - The Blessing of Mercy.

Mat.5:7: The Blessing of Mercy.

Mat 5:7 (NIV)  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown 


The heart of man is by nature cold and dark and unloving; 
whenever one manifests a spirit of mercy and forgiveness, he does it not 
of himself, but through the influence of the divine Spirit moving 
upon his heart. "We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19, 
R.V. God is Himself the source of all mercy. His name is "merciful 
and gracious." Exodus 34:6.... The merciful are "partakers of the 
divine nature," and in them the compassionate love of God finds 
expression. All whose hearts are in sympathy with the heart of Infinite Love 
will seek to reclaim and not to condemn. Christ dwelling in the soul 
is a spring that never runs dry. Where He abides, there will be an 
overflowing of beneficence.... The merciful are those who manifest compassion 
to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed..... And every word or 
deed of unselfish kindness is an expression of the love of Christ for 
lost humanity. MB21-24 


CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word 

Mat 5:7 (KJV)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain 

Mat 5:7 (NIV)  Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown 

Mat 5:7 (CWR)  "Happiness comes from being compassionate and 
forgiving. People will remember your loving kindness and return the same to 

Mat 5:7 (TLB)  Happy are the kind and merciful, for they shall 
be shown mercy.  


Each beatitude tells how to be blessed. "Blessed" means more 
than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those 
who are in God's kingdom. The Beatitudes don't promise laughter, 
pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, "blessed" means the experience 
of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope 
and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what 
the cost. [Life Application SB] 

Blessed: The Greek word was used in Greek literature, in the 
Septuagint, and in the New Testament to describe the kind of happiness that 
comes from receiving divine favor. [Nelson SB] 

The beatitudes in effect say, "O the bliss of being a Christian! 
O the joy of following Christ! O the sheer happiness of knowing 
Jesus Christ as Master, Saviour and Lord!" . . . In Christianity there 
is a godlike joy.  
The Greek for blesses describes that joy which has its secret 
within itself, that joy which is serene and untouchable, and 
self-contained, that joy which is completely independent of all the chances and 
the changes of life. The English word happiness gives its own case 
away. It contains the root hap which means chance. Human happiness is 
something which is dependent on the chances and the changes of life, 
something which life may give and which life may also destroy. The 
Christian blessedness is completely untouchable and unassailable. "No 
one," said Jesus, "will take your joy from you" (Jn 16:22). The 
beatitudes speak of that joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy 
which sorrow and loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch, 
that joy which shines through tears, and which nothing in life or 
death can take away.  
The world can win its joys, and the world can equally well lose 
its joys. A change in fortune, a collapse in health, the failure of 
a plan, the disappointment of an ambition, even a change in the 
weather, can take away the fickle joy the world can give. But the 
Christian has the serene and untouchable joy which comes from walking for 
ever in the company and in the presence of Jesus Christ. [Barclay] 


Merciful. "compassionate." The mercy of which Christ here speaks 
is an active manward virtue. It is of little value until it takes 
the form of merciful deeds. In Matt. 25:31-46 deeds of mercy are 
presented as being the test of admission to the kingdom of glory. James 
includes deeds of mercy in his definition of "pure religion" (James 
1:27). Micah (ch. 6:8) sums up man's obligation to God and to his 
fellow men as "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly" 
with God. Note that Micah, like Christ, mentions both humility before 
God and mercy toward men. These may be compared with the two 
commandments on which "all the law and the prophets" hang (Matt. 22:40). [SDA 

CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:

Jesus announced blessings for citizens of His kingdom (5:1-12). 
He expects citizens of His kingdom to do good deeds (vv. 13-16), 
for He requires a righteousness that surpasses that of even the 
zealous Pharisees (vv. 17-20). Christ looked behind the acts the Law 
regulated to call for purity of heart (vv. 21-42) and that crowning 
expression of kingdom righteousness: a love like the Heavenly Father's for 
one's enemies (vv. 43-48). [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary] 


Jesus Teaches the People
The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes
The Beatitudes

5:3-12 There are nine blessings listed in vs. 3-11. But vs. 10, 
11, refer to the same aspect of Christian experience, and are 
therefore to be considered one beatitude, thus leaving eight rather than 
nine beatitudes. [SDA Commentary] 

On these precious Beatitudes, observe that though eight in 
number, there are here but seven distinct features of character. The 
eighth one-the "persecuted for righteousness' sake"-denotes merely the 
possessors of the seven preceding features, on account of which they are 
persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12). Accordingly, instead of any distinct promise to 
this class, we have merely a repetition of the first promise. This 
has been noticed by several critics, who by the sevenfold character 
thus set forth have rightly observed that a complete character is 
meant to be depicted, and by the sevenfold blessedness attached to it, 
a perfect blessedness is intended. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown 

There are at least four ways to understand the Beatitudes. (1) 
They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct 
for all believers. (2) They contrast kingdom values (what is 
eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). (3) They contrast the 
superficial "faith" of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants. (4) 
They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the 
new kingdom. These beatitudes are not multiple choice--pick what you 
like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe 
what we should be like as Christ's followers. [Life Application SB] 

The Beatitudes are comprised of three elements: a pronouncement 
of blessing, a quality of life, and a reason why the recipient 
should be considered blessed. The first element is found in the word 
Blessed (see Ps. 1:1), which introduces each beatitude. The second 
element does not describe different groups of people, but a composite 
picture of the kind of person who will inherit Christ's kingdom. The 
third element looks ahead to some aspect of the coming kingdom. 
[Nelson SB] 

Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which 
represent to us the principal graces of a Christian [Matthew Henry 

The Beatitudes are not primarily promises to the individual but 
a description of him. They do not show a man how to be saved, but 
describe the characteristics manifested by one who is born again. 
[Wycliffe Bible Commentary] 

The Beatitudes describe what we should be like as Christ's 
followers. [Life Application SB] 

The Beatitudes: These qualities Jesus mentioned are internal. 
These come only when one is properly related to God through faith, 
when one places his complete trust in God. [Bible Knowledge 

The Beatitudes describe the inner qualities of a follower of 
Christ. [Ryrie SB] 

The Beatitudes describe the character traits of those accepted 
as citizens of the kingdom of God and set forth both the present 
and future blessings of those whose lives portray these virtues. 
[Believer's SB] 

The Beatitudes refer to both present and future blessings of the 
kingdom. [Disciple SB] 

5:1-12 Eight Characteristics Of Kingdom Dwellers
The Beatitudes (5:1-12) revealed eight characteristics that 
should be true of the righteous remnant in the promised kingdom. The 
truths implied in these characteristics all reflect pervasive themes in 
the Old Testament. They revealed to the listeners what the lives of 
people in the process of repentance should be like and caused them to 
reflect upon their own character in relation to the character of God. 
The Beatitudes were built upon an if/then logic and hidden in each 
Beatitude was an if/then relationship. For example, the first Beatitude 
says in essence, "If you are poor in spirit, then you will receive 
the kingdom of God" (5:3). The Beatitudes both describe and demand. 
They demand good character as they describe the "blessed" results of 
following the demands of kingdom living. 
The attitudes of "poor in spirit," "mourning," and "meekness" 
all draw upon Old Testament themes and underscore the need for human 
responsibility and the work of divine grace. The basic element demanded by all 
the Beatitudes was a right relationship with God. The Beatitudes 
were intended to inspire Matthew's readers to think about the 
character of the repentant person so that they also could follow the path 
of repentance. 
Matthew 5:3-16 should be seen as one single unit of thought. The 
word "blessed" (5:3; etc.) literally means "happy." For "poor in 
spirit" (5:3) see Psalms 40:17; 69:29-30, 33-34; and Isaiah 57:15; 61:1; 
66:2, 5. This characteristic describes the inner attitude of a person 
when confronted with the holy God and his demands. Being "poor in 
spirit" means admitting that no one can have spiritual wealth in and of 
themselves--that all are dependent on God alone for spiritual 
salvation and daily 
 grace. Such a person aligns with God's will, even against the desires 
of his own. 
For the attitude of "mourning" (Matt. 5:4), see Isaiah 1:17, 23; 
2:11, 17; 61:2. The afflicted were often seen as God's favorites in 
contrast with the powerful. This "mourning" was a reaction to seeing all 
that God had demanded for the kingdom and then seeing how far all of 
mankind had fallen short. 
For the attitude of "meekness" (Matt. 5:5) read Psalm 37:7-11 
and Isaiah 57:15. Having the quality of "meekness" would result in 
possession of the new heavens and new earth (cf. Isa. 66; Rev. 21-22). The 
Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount as a whole continually looked 
forward to the time of judgment and reward in the end times. 
To "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matt. 5:6) was to seek 
to live life as God intended for it to be lived. Concepts drawn 
from Old Testament Wisdom Literature were being applied here (cf. 
Prov. 8:22-36). For "pure in heart" (Matt. 5:8), see what it meant 
under the old covenant (Deut. 6) as well as under the new covenant 
(Jer. 31; Ezek. 36). 
The "peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9) will be called "sons of God." They 
will be heirs to God's kingdom of which "peace" will be an important 
characteristic (cf. Isa. 9:6-7; 66:12-13; Mic. 4:3). Note the emphasis in 5:3, 
4, 9, 10. In each of these verses, an implied contrast was being 
made between those who would be blessed in the age to come and the 
religious leaders of Jesus' day. 
Those "persecuted because of righteousness" (5:10) would also be 
heirs to the kingdom. This relates back to 5:3 regarding the kingdom 
and to 5:6 regarding righteousness. The idea of this verse carried a 
bit of irony. These people were being persecuted because they were 
hungry and thirsty for righteousness. But their persecutors would be 
the religious leaders of Israel, the ones who claimed to strictly 
follow the way of righteousness. 
Jesus made a personal elaboration (5:11-12) of the comments in 
5:10. He would become the cause for the persecution of the righteous 
("because of me," 5:11). The people who desired to be among the "blessed" 
of the kingdom would not find their time on earth easy. Matthew 
wrote for people who faced a time of persecution prior to the 
establishment of the kingdom. There was a parallel drawn in 5:12 with the 
prophets of the past who had suffered for the sake of righteousness. [New 
Bible Companion] 

Of all the virtues Christ commended in the Beatitudes, it is 
significant that the first is humility being "poor in spirit" (v. 3). That 
underlies all the others: 
You cannot mourn (v 4) without appreciating how insufficient you 
are to handle life in your own strength. That is humility. 
You cannot be meek (v 5) unless you have needed gentleness 
yourself. Knowing that need is humility. 
You cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness (v 6) if you 
proudly think of yourself as already righteous. Longing to fill that 
spiritual appetite demands humility. In a parable that Luke recorded, a 
humble tax collector prayed, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!" He went 
away justified, unlike a proud Pharisee who boasted of his 
righteousness (Luke 18:13). 
You cannot be merciful (Matt. 5:7) without recognizing your own 
need for mercy. Jesus said that it's the person who is forgiven much 
that loves much (Luke 7:47). To confess your sin and ask God and 
others for forgiveness takes humility. 
You cannot be pure in heart (Matt. 5:8) if your heart is filled 
with pride. God promises to exalt the humble, not the proud (James 
You cannot be a peacemaker (Matt. 5:9) if you believe that you 
are always right. To admit your own fallibility takes humility Peace 
results when both warring parties move toward each other. 
Finally identifying with Christ no matter what the reaction of 
others (vv. 10-12) demands a certain death to yourself and a 
renunciation of your own rights. Standing up under persecution demands 
Christlike Humility. [Word In Life SB] 

Is it possible to live up to these standards? (5:3-10)
Even though the Sermon on the Mount has been called the 
constitution for citizens of the kingdom of God, we will never see flawed 
human beings, though they are Christians, reach this level of 
perfection. Jesus begins the Beatitudes, the preamble to this constitution, 
with our inability in mind - Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Those who begin by admitting their 
shortcomings are in the best position to experience God's blessing and enjoy 
his kingdom. 
Nevertheless, we cannot escape the fact that Jesus gave his 
followers these lifestyle goals. Those who respond out of love for the 
Lord, grateful for his grace in their lives, will better approach 
these ideals. The Beatitudes are a model of perfection requiring our 
declaration of dependence on God: we can't, but God can. Even when doing so 
involves failure to follow perfectly, we're to press on in obedience. 
The Beatitudes describe the quality of life God intended for 
humanity from the beginning - a life of blessing. The word blessed can 
also be translated happy, but it is something more than an emotion. 
The closer we come to Jesus' standards, the more we experience the 
blessing of God. [Quest SB] 

When we first read the statements of Jesus they seem wonderfully 
simple and unstartling, and they sink unobserved into our unconscious 
minds. For instance, the Beatitudes seem merely mild and beautiful 
precepts for all unworldly and useless people, but of very little 
practical use in the stern workaday world in which we live. We soon find, 
however, that the Beatitudes contain the dynamite of the Holy Ghost. They 
explode, as it were, when the circumstances of our lives cause them to do 
so. When the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance one of these 
Beatitudes we say--'What a startling statement that is!' and we have to 
decide whether we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that 
will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words. That is 
the way the Spirit of God works. We do not need to be born again to 
apply the Sermon on the Mount literally. The literal interpretation of 
the Sermon on the Mount is child's play; the interpretation by the 
Spirit of God as He applies Our Lord's statements to our circumstances 
is the stern work of a saint. The teaching of Jesus is out of all 
proportion to our natural way of looking at things, and it comes with 
astonishing discomfort to begin with. We have slowly to form our walk and 
conversation on the line of the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit 
applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set 
of rules and regulations: it is a statement of the life we will 
live when the Holy Spirit is getting His way with us. [My Utmost for 
His Highest by Oswald Chambers] 

CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.

2 Samuel 22:26 (KJV)  With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself 
merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.  

Psalm 18:25 (KJV)  With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself 
merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;  

Isaiah 58:6, 7 (KJV)  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? 
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to 
let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [7] Is it 
not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor 
that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou 
cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?  

Daniel 4:27 (KJV)  Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be 
acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine 
iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy 

Micah 6:8 (KJV)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and 
what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love 
mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  

Matthew 6:14 (KJV)  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your 
heavenly Father will also forgive you:  

Matthew 18:33 (KJV)  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion 
on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  

Mark 11:25 (KJV)  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have 
ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may 
forgive you your trespasses.  

Luke 6:35 (KJV)  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and 
lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye 
shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the 
unthankful and to the evil.  

Ephes. 4:32 (KJV)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, 
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  

Col. 3:12 (KJV)  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and 
beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, 

Hebrews 4:16 (KJV)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne 
of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time 
of need.  

James 3:17 (KJV)  But the wisdom that is from above is first 
pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy 
and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  

COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?

Mercy does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the 
popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for 
someone in trouble. Checed (2617-HSN), mercy, means the ability to get 
right inside the other person's skin until we can see things with his 
eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.... 
Clearly this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; clearly this 
demands a quite deliberate effort of the mind and of the will. It 
denotes a sympathy which is not given, as it were, from outside, but 
which comes from a deliberate identification with the other person, 
until we see things as he sees them, and feel things as he feels them. 
. . . Sympathy means experiencing things together with the other 
person, literally going through what he is going through. . . .In the 
last analysis, is not that what God did in Jesus Christ? In Jesus 
Christ, in the most literal sense, God got inside the skin of men. He 
came as a man; he came seeing things with men's eyes, feeling things 
with men's feelings, thinking things with men's minds. God knows what 
life is like, because God came right inside life. [Barclay 

"The Christian stands in a middle point, between a mercy 
received and a mercy yet needed." Sometimes the first is urged upon him 
as an argument for showing mercy--"forgiving one another, as Christ 
forgave you" (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13); sometimes the last--"Blessed are the 
merciful: for they shall obtain mercy"; "Forgive, and ye shall be 
forgiven" (Luke 6:37; James. 5:9). And thus, while he is ever to look back 
on the mercy received as the source and motive of the mercy that he 
shows, he also looks forward to the mercy that he yet needs. [Jamieson, 
Fausset, And Brown Commentary] 

The heart of man is by nature cold and dark and unloving; 
whenever one manifests a spirit of mercy and forgiveness, he does it not 
of himself, but through the influence of the divine Spirit moving 
upon his heart. "We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19, 
R.V. God is Himself the source of all mercy. His name is "merciful 
and gracious." Exodus 34:6.... The merciful are "partakers of the 
divine nature," and in them the compassionate love of God finds 
expression. All whose hearts are in sympathy with the heart of Infinite Love 
will seek to reclaim and not to condemn. Christ dwelling in the soul 
is a spring that never runs dry. Where He abides, there will be an 
overflowing of beneficence.... The merciful are those who manifest compassion 
to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed..... And every word or 
deed of unselfish kindness is an expression of the love of Christ for 
lost humanity. MB21-24