Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is THE most famous Sermon that has ever been preached. In this Sermon, Jesus paints us a true and accurate picture of God’s incredible Righteousness and Holiness, gives us something to strive for, but yet also shows us how impossible it is for us to reach God’s Standards with our feeble human efforts. Jesus is teaching us KINGDOM PRINCIPLES! This Sermon is presented to us in Matthew Chapters 5-7, and it’s amazing, even Revolutionary! The Disciples and everyone who listened to Jesus that day were stunned because Jesus did not teach as a Scribe, but as someone who has AUTHORITY…the SON OF GOD! This teaching is so Revolutionary, no “religion” has ever come close! In this sermon, Jesus turns the world on it’s ear showing us that it’s not the “rich and powerful” who inherit the Kingdom of God, but the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart. In this teaching, Jesus also makes it CRYSTAL CLEAR that ALL have fallen short of the glory of GOD, and that standing on our own good works ABSOLUTELY CANNOT SAVE US because we cannot even approach God’s standard of Righteousness. It’s not possible! But what is impossible for man is POSSIBLE with GOD! This was music to the lowly person’s “ear”, but it grated like sandpaper to the Prideful high and mighty religious elite.
The Sermon starts out in Matthew Chapter 5 with the phrase “He opened His Mouth”…letting us know that something HUGELY IMPORTANT is about to follow! That phrase let’s us know that we REALLY need to LISTEN to what Jesus has to say!
Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount with what is known as “The Beatitudes”. Jesus was preaching AGAINST the prosperity gospel of His Day.
Makarios” is the Greek word “Blessed” which anchors the beatitudes. It means “blessed” , but it’s also a rich word, a congratulatory word , a word which means happy or fortunate (happy are the poor in spirit , fortunate are u who weep , …) which makes the first half of these passages even stranger(people must have gasped & said “how can this be?”)
Blessed (makarios) is a word which had rich connotations in the ancient world regarding what is meaningful in life (being “blessed” & becoming rich ostentatiously well-off , nice clothes & nice home & exotic foods
all the cosmopolitan comforts which donkey-caravans can bring) , a word which
Jesus the Galilean so effectively undermines & reverses in the thought-processes of those to whom he is speaking saying (like the prophets) that
the mark of being blessed comes , not from ostentatious wealth
(not from a concrete “earthly” reward , but rather) the meaning of life comes from somewhere else entirely
Poor in Spirit
Those who are “poor in spirit” understand the spiritual poverty that they were born into before Almighty God. Those who are “poor in Spirit” understand that we are all sinners who deserve God’s judgement. We have nothing to offer, nothing to plead, and no way to earn God’s favor. Poor in spirit is contrary to that haughty, self-assertive and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the reverse of an independent and defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God.
Those who mourn
This Beatitude is often written on Hallmark Sympathy Cards because those who mourn the loss of loved ones will be comforted by God. However, Jesus was actually speaking of those who “mourn their sin”. Blessed are those who recognize that all human hearts are desperately wicked, who mourn and grieve over our own sinful condition, who are humble enough to repent and ask forgiveness, and who never try to justify or hide sin. Those who have this level of humility before God will be comforted by the forgiveness of sin offered through our Savior, Jesus.
The idea of meekness is bridled strength, or strength under control. Jesus was meek, but not weak. He had ultimate strength and power, but He humbled Himself, submitting fully to the Father’s Will. Another way to describe a meek person is one with a gentle spirit, humility, setting aside power and prestige to obey the Lord’s Will.
Those who hunger and thirst for Righteousness, merciful, pure in heart
We can only hunger and thirst for Righteousness if we don’t already feel “self-Righteous”. Those who already consider themselves Righteous do not hunger or thirst..for they think they are already filled. This group longs for a Righteousness that cannot be filled by our own human actions.
The merciful will receive mercy. Those who don’t look down on others, who understand that we are all sinners in need of mercy, who are merciful to those who make mistakes, who miss the mark, shall receive mercy from God.
The pure in heart have a singleness of heart towards God, who avoid hypocrisy, guile, hidden motives, who have given their lives to Jesus asking HIM to direct their steps, they shall SEE God.
Jesus laid down His life to make peace between God and sinners. Those who carry that message of peace to others are peacemakers. Beautiful are the feet that spread GOOD NEWS. Those who witness for Christ, sharing their faith with others, are Ambassadors for Peace, the Prince of Peace.
Those who are persecuted for the Name of Jesus, for their faith in Jesus, who are falsely accused because of their belief in Jesus, will receive GREAT REWARDS in HEAVEN! We’ve seen in previous posts that Christian persecution has always been around, but is about to EXPLODE in these last days!
THE GREAT LOVE TEST!
These 40 days before Pentecost is a very good time to examine our hearts to see if we are one of those who is spoken about in the Beatitudes. In doing this, we may find also that this is a good time to make some changes to the way we think and act, always mindful of the ultimate goal which is to yield our Will to the Father’s Will so that He can best conform us to the image of His Son Jesus. Each time that we yield our own human will to God’s Will, choosing what He says is right and good over what we THINK is right and good, CHOOSING HIS PLAN over our plan, we GLORIFY the SON JESUS and the FATHER! The number 40 usually carries along with it the idea of repentance, testing, and trials. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years (after the sin of the golden calf). Jesus was tried and tested for 40 days in the desert after the visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit came upon Him like a Dove.
As part of our 40 days of self-examination and repentance, here’s something called THE LOVE TEST. In this “test”, we insert our own name for the word “love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This is a very humbling experience, because I know that I personally fall short. I think I’ve boasted before, or been arrogant. I know I’ve insisted on my own way. What an awesome test for self-reflection and repentance. I pray it blesses you as it has blessed me!
“_____ is patient and kind. _____ does not envy or boast. _____ is not arrogant or rude. ______ does not insist on his / her own way. ______ is not irritable or resentful. _______ does not rejoice at wrongdoings, but rejoices with the truth. _________ bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”