The initial reference point for exploring the Matthean beatitudes is given in Jesus’ proclamation that the kingdom of heaven has drawn near (4:17), coupled with the conviction that this is good news (4:23). It seems likely that the distinctive third person format of 5:3-10 allows these verse to serve functionally as an expanded restatement of 4:17: this is what is now imminent. This is good news specifically to those who find themselves in these identified situations (a list which is probably designed to echo key elements of the shared experience of God’s people: chastened by the humiliation of exile and beyond, and living as a subject people; longing for God to put things finally to rights; peacemakers, not motivated by a thirst for vengeance, having discovered the depth of their own need for mercy; seeking to be pure in heart; and ready to suffer, if need be, as those identified with the way of God). Jesus brings good news for those who have travelled the distance with God and been educated by the history of their people. John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew NIGTC (Michigan: Eerdmans, 2005), 196-197.