Matthew 5: “Blessed” vs “Happy”

Matthew 5: “Blessed” vs “Happy”

Two thoughts on today’s reading. The first is something I penned a few weeks ago.

First, for many years I have heard and read that “blessed” as is found in the beatitudes means “happy.” I just don’t think that is so.

The word appears 50 times in the NT and in the is rendered “happy” only 5 times. The other 45 are “blessed,” as in being a recipient of divine favor.

In three of the five appearances of “happy,” the idea of “blessed” better suits the text (cf John 13:17; 1 Peter 3:14, 4:14).

There are other words in the original text that convey the commonly held idea of happiness or being glad (cf Matt 2:10, 5:12; Mark 14:11; John 20:20).

Being happy or rejoicing is the result of the recognition of blessing (cf Acts 5:41).

Second, there is something to be considered in Jesus’ statements, “You have heard it said… but I say to you.”

When the conditions constituting the establishment of a law are changed, of necessity the law itself is changed. For example, when the conditions for DUI are changed, the law itself is changed. What was once true is now no longer true, not matter which way one may move the conditions.

When Jesus contrasted his teaching with the Law of Moses, He necessarily changed the law itself.

Of interest to me are His two “You have heard it said” statements that invoke two of the Ten Commandments, namely murder and adultery.

If Jesus changed the standard of those two laws, and He did, then He changed the laws themselves. The original standard is no longer valid; thus, the original law is no longer valid.

Why then do so many people cling to and purport to follow a set of laws that Jesus himself set aside?

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