Tuesday 24 January 2023

Matthew 5  v 1 -12

I am starting to-day a series of sermons on the well-known chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, which I hope to post on the middle days of each week. 

The sermon was preached by Jesus at the beginning of is ministry, just after his baptise, The mountain was near Capernaum near hills which overlooked the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus saw the crowds who had gathered so went to the mountain, where in the custom of Jewish rabbis he sat down to preach.

In this sermon he was stating his followers were different from others, and they must follow his way of life and not be led by others.  His words follow in the likeness of God when speaking to Israel in the Old testament. His followers were to be diffrent from those in the secular world, and it is as in the Kingdom of God to be worked out under the divine role.

The sermon begins with the Beatitudes, which mark the Chrisin character and conduct in relation to God and man, and the blessing which is on those who display each beatitude. The sermon  will include Christian influene, righteousness, piety, ambition, and a Christian's relationship and commitment.

As the crowds were amazed and influenced by the authority of Jesus, it is an influence which every generation of Jesus' followers should accept and submit.  The Lordship of Jesuus is still relevant and the same as Jesus staed on that mountain. In the sermon,Jesus is telling  the reality of discipleship in the Kingdom of God.

In this sermon I am using the New Living Translation of the Bible, and using simpler words to help those, who are perhaps reading of the story for the first time, to understand what Jesus was really saying.

A lot of people consider the Beatitudes are a full description of the Christian faith. Whilst they are a central part of Christianity, that is being rather too restrictive.

Jeswas being followed by a crowd as he reached Capernaum from Galilee, and seeing the crowd, Jesus went up the mountain, and sat down to allow his disciples to join him. He sat down, which was the custom of a Rabbi to teach the crowd, religious leaders, and give instructions to his disciples, concerning life in the Kingdom of God.

The passage opens in some Bibles with the words, ‘he opened his mouth’, which meant Jesus beginning to teach in a grave and dignified manner, and is opening His heart and mind to the men who will become His disciples.  Followers of Billy Graham will know he so often spoke of the heart as the centre of life, holding our emotions, directing our thoughts, and our hearts.

The Beatitudes, are recorded in the Bible by Matthew and Luke, to mark the beginning of Jesus' public teaching ministry. I have chosen to follow Matthew’s account, and whilst it varies slightly from Luke’s version, that is attributable to personal way of telling, and is in no way casting a doubt of the event. Each beatitude has three parts, a term of blessedness, to whom it is applied, and the reason for it being given.

The actions begin with the word blessed, which in some modern versions of the bible has become ‘happy.’ I think that was unfortunate, for it is misguiding to a person not familiar with the Bible to read, ‘happy are those who are poor.’ A person can be blessed and be happy at being so, but a happy person may not suitably be blessed. To be blessed,  is to be in a state of well-being in relationship with God,  and has a sense of divine aid, and has the godly joy of walking in the presence of Jesus, and Is to those who responded to the ministry of Jesus.  

The disciples were those who had made  commitment to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  They were joined by the curious who had heard of Jesus, for news of Jesus had spread.  Some were uncommitted, others were astounded by his teaching.


  V3 blessed those who are poor and realize their need for him for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

 Jesus would not bless someone living in poverty, but is referring to a poverty of spirit, which leads to an inability to use one’s own resources. and know they need God to help them, so put their trust in God.   Such a man/woman can put all helplessness in God’s hands, and will know that God cand bring help.

 There is nothing good in poverty, Jesus would never have blessed people whose lives were in poor living, and were short of food and necessities. Abraham Lincoln stated that God must have loved the poor, because he made so many of them, and the gospel message was there to help them remove any misfortune.

Some of the people listening to Jesus must have been spellbound, for he was saying things which seemed to be the opposite of life as they knew it. He was saying the rich and  Important people were not the well-off, it was the poor, the mournful, persecuted , hungry and thirsty who were.    

V4 blessed those who mourn for they will be comforted 

Those who are desperately sorry for the sorrow and suffering in this world      .One who is in bitter sorrow, and is mourning the dead. Someone who has care for  another who is in sorrow and suffering.  The blessedness is on one whose heart is suffering for his/her own sins, for out of their own sorrow will find the joy of God.

 V5  blessed those who are humble for they shall inherit the earth

Someone who has his/her instincts and passions under control; who has compassion and the humility to know their own weakness and own need.   Who willingly is tolerant without resentment, and doesn’t take offence easily.  Ready to wait for goodness. Those who do not try to make themselves as better than others to further their own agenda, and will inherit the earth because trust in God to direct events, and is in control of own emotions. Who has the humility to realize his/her own weakness.

 V6  blessed those who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied

To have a desire to be entirely confirmed to the mind of God, and long above all else, to be holy.  They recognized God is the source of all righteousness, so they long for God’s righteous character to be alive to people on earth. They shall be satisfied by responding to his invitation to be in worship with him.

 V7  blessed those who are merciful for they shall receive mercy

This is a principle which runs through the whole of the New Testament. The gentle folk who do not try to assert themselves over other people.    One who has full compassion for others. Have pity for all suffering and want to do good for people, and they will get rich reward.  The kindness and mercy shown to them they will share with others.

 V8  blessed those whose hearts are pure for they shall see God

 who pursue purity and uprightness on every area of life, for they will see the fulfilment in God.  Jesus stated that purity pf heart was most important.  They aim not for outward correctness, but inner holiness. Don’t seek external show, and try not to give offence, and will serve God with spirit, and have God at heart.

 V9 blessed those who work for peace for they shall be called the children of God

Those who pursue God’s peace will gain reward of being called sons and daughters of God, for they will reflect the character of their heavenly Father.  They strive for peace, and to produce charity,  they want people to love and care for each other, by teaching the gospel that love is the fulfilling of the law. They will make proper relationships between themselves and other men and women, for they are doing a godly work.  

 V10 blessed those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven is theirs

Those who are laughed at, scorned  and threatened. Persecuted and wrongly accused because of their faith.  God is pleased when his people show they value him above all others in this world, and this happens when we courageously remain faithful  amidst opposition for righteousness sake.

 V 11blessed you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all evil things about you because you are my followers Be happy about it. Be very glad for a great award awaits you in heaven. Remember the ancient prophets were treated in the same way.

Those who were reviled, just as Jesus who experienced opposition and persecution, his disciples can expect the same reward . This reward may not come on earth, but it will surely be theirs. Throughout history beginning with Cain’s slaughter of Abel, they persecuted the prophets.

 Matthew’s phrases show how essential to the teaching of Jesus. It should however, be realized the Beatitudes were given to Jesus’ disciples, to describe a way of life which is addressed to, and only possible for the committed Christian.’

 How many times I wonder, have I heard it said if people only followed the sermon on the mount the Church would find a world of love and peace.  This is sometimes said by people who want to bypass other parts of Scripture, which makes them uncomfortable, especially to their consciences. Do all those people actually live the teaching of the sermon?  Two thousand years have passsed since this sermon was delivered.  When all people claiming to be Christians accept, practice and fully live sound doctrine, then we will have true committal to Jesus Christ.

 May God bless his Holy Word to us, and may his Holy Name be praised and glorified.

No comments:

Post a Comment