When Jesus preached on the requirements to enter the kingdom of heaven in the Sermon on the Mount, He began with the Beatitudes—that list of statements beginning with “Blessed are….” Sermon titles and books reveal an assortment of Beatitude puns such as “Bee Attitudes” and “Me Attitudes.” And there are certainly enough to make you wonder (1.) why we call them Beatitudes and (2.) if the word Beatitude has anything to do with attitudes.
It turns out the word comes from the Latin word beātus meaning “blessed.” And while there may not be an etymological connection between Beatitude and attitude, being blessed (or “happy” in modern parlance) is an attitude.
Jesus is indeed stressing attitudes in the Beatitudes, and in very specific ways. Take Matthew 5:5 as a single example: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Our study for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade—The God-Man: Christ in the Gospels—explains Jesus’ use of meekness this way:
Meekness, to Jesus, meant an attitude of submission to God, allowing Him to accomplish His will in whatever way He sees best (117).
An attitude of meekness is what God requires of His people. It’s an attitude modeled perfectly by Jesus, one we can learn from Him (Matt. 11:29).
Throughout this school-length study, middle-schoolers will learn much more than just about the Beatitudes—that’s only one lesson. They will also learn about the teachings and works of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels, including Jesus’ incarnation, miracles, Passion Week, and more.
In addition, each lesson includes a special section dedicated to application called “My Relationship to Christ.” This gives students a regular opportunity to evaluate their relationship with the Lord and reflect on their gratitude towards Him through open-ended prompts.
Consider using this study to impact students and their attitudes with the words and works of the meek and powerful God-Man.