Jesus had many disciples. These were people who believed in Him and sometimes traveled with Him. One day, Jesus chose 12 of His disciples to be His special helpers. He called them “apostles.” The apostles would stay with Jesus all the time. They would travel with Him everywhere He went, and would learn from Him. They would help Him preach and heal the sick.
Jesus and the apostles went through Galilee, teaching and healing. People told friends, neighbors and travelers about Him. Soon, people were coming to Jesus from all directions. Many traveled for days to hear the words of Jesus. Many came to be healed, or brought sick friends and relatives for Him to heal. Jesus never turned anyone away.
For hundreds of years, the Jews had looked for the Messiah to come. They wanted the Messiah to set up His kingdom and chase the Romans out of Israel. As they listened to the strong, confident voice of Jesus and saw the miracles He performed, the people were sure Jesus was the Messiah. They hoped He would soon announce His kingdom and begin the revolt against the Romans.
Early one morning Jesus went up on to a mountain near the Sea of Galilee to pray. When He came down, He saw thousands of people crowding around the apostles, waiting to see Him. Jesus healed all those who were sick. Then He climbed higher on the mountain and sat down with the apostles close around Him.
Eagerly, the people waited for Jesus to speak. Maybe this was the day He would make Himself king and free them. Then they would be happy.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus said.
People looked at each other in amazement. This man did not speak like the scribes and Pharisees. Those teachers all thought they were rich in spiritual treasure. No one wanted to be poor in spirit. But there were some who looked into the pure, kind face of Jesus and felt a new kind of hope. These people knew they could never be good enough by themselves to go to heaven. But Jesus was telling them He would save them in His kingdom. This made them happy.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” said Jesus.
Many of the people had already been comforted that very day. They had seen Jesus heal their sick and dying loved ones, and their hearts were filled with joy.
Others were sick at heart because they knew they had been sinful. Their sins made them sad. When Jesus looked on them with love, and said, “You are blessed,” they knew their sins were forgiven. They, too, rejoiced. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” Jesus said.
How could the meek inherit the earth? If they were patient and gentle under the Romans, the Romans would never go away. But many who were listening remembered how Jesus was always gentle and patient. He never shouted or argued, even when people accused Him of things He had not done. He always spoke kindly, even to those who were cruel to Him or made fun of Him. These people wanted to be like Him.
Many believed for the first time that Jesus was the Son of God. They forgot about making Him king. They began to understand a little of what Jesus was trying to tell them about the kingdom of heaven. They wanted Him to come into their hearts and make them like Him. They were happy the Messiah had come.
King David wrote many “blesseds,” too. Read Psalm 1:1 to find one “blessed.” Can you find two “blesseds” in Psalm 84?
In Psalm 119:1 and 2, who are called blessed?
Does forgiveness bring blessedness? Read Psalm 32:1 and 2.
Can we be called blessed when we study God’s word? Read the answer in Revelation 1:3.
The Treasure Chest Verse for this lesson is the first “blessing” that Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3