In His great teaching called, “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus told us a lot about what He thinks “happiness” is.
Jesus said people are blessed when they think and act in certain ways – ways not commonly associated with happiness!
But first, what word is used in the original language (Greek) of this text for “blessed”? And what does it mean?
The New Testament was written in the language of the Roman world at that time – Greek. The Greek word used in these sayings of Jesus is makarios.
“In Greek usage, makarios came to refer to the elite. . .the wealthy people. It referred to people whose riches and power put them above the normal cares and problems and worries of the lesser folk — the peons, who constantly struggle and worry and labor in life. To be blessed, you had to be very rich and powerful.” (Brian P. Stoffregen, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/allsaintb.htm)
“Matthew (reflecting Jesus’ thoughts) uses this word in a totally different way. It is not the elite who are blessed. It is not the rich and powerful who are blessed. It is not the high and mighty who are blessed. It is not the people living in huge mansions or expensive penthouses who are blessed. Rather, Jesus pronounces God’s blessings on the lowly: the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the meek, the mourning. Throughout the history of this word, it had always been the other people who were considered blessed: the rich, the filled up, the powerful. Jesus turns it all upside-down. The elite in God’s kingdom, the blessed ones in God’s kingdom, are those who are at the bottom of the heap of humanity.” (Brian P. Stoffregen, http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/allsaintb.htm)
“Blessed” in Jesus’ definition means “how happy are the. . .”
These pronouncements of happiness from Jesus are called the “Beatitudes.” Some refer to them as the “Be Happy Attitudes!”
True Happiness in the Words of Jesus
3 “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
4 “Happy are those who mourn;
God will comfort them!
5 “Happy are those who are humble;
they will receive what God has promised!
6 “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!
7 “Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
8 “Happy are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
9 “Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!
10 “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!11 “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.”
Dear Muslim friends, are you happy?
Jesus shows you what true happiness looks like. . .