Let me begin by lowering expectations. I am not a Bible scholar and won’t pretend to be something I’m not. However, what I am is just an average guy, a person who screws up on a daily basis, doesn’t always say the right thing, and sometimes espouses opinions with which others do not agree. In other words, I am human. That being said, I am a child of God who, at the age of 26, at a time in my life when things weren’t really going my way and I was not the happiest camper in the universe, gave my heart to Jesus Christ and accepted his free gift of salvation. A lot of times things still don’t go my way and there are too many times when I do not react as I should, but my life is so much better than it was a decade ago because I have come to understand what matters and what doesn’t. Even when I choose the wrong path it is now a much shorter turnaround…sort of like missing your exit on the freeway but immediately realizing it and getting back on track quickly versus driving for a hundred miles before it dawns on you that you are completely lost. I provide this preface simply as a way of saying that my intention is not to teach anyone anything as if I know something that you do not. I would rather look at this (and other things I write) as an opportunity for us to walk side by side and explore together so that we all can learn something or take a moment to reflect on what we think we already know.
So…on to the task at hand. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is found in the 5th chapter of the book of Matthew and continues through the 7th chapter. Like The Fruits of the Spirit that we have been examining as well (and we will be getting back on track with that soon), it’s another example of a highlight within The Bible where several important precepts are laid down in a very succinct listing. If a person were to never read a word of The Bible except The Sermon on the Mount they would atleast get a cursory idea of who Jesus is, what He is all about, and the type of person we all should strive to be. Even if you’ve never drank a cup of coffee in your life you have a general notion of what it smells and tastes like if you have ever been in the vicinity of a Starbucks. In the same way The Sermon on the Mount is a pretty strong indication of the foundation of Christianity and living a Godly life.
As most with even a passing familiarity of Scriptures know, verses 3-11 are commonly known as The Beatitudes. Now that is not some sort of new age British rock band that covers Beatles songs with an attitude. Beatitude is a word that in Latin means “blessed” or “happy”. That is important to note, because it tells us that what this set of principles are…Jesus telling us how to be happy. When you are reading The Beatitudes try substituting the word “happy” for the word “blessed” and see if things make a little more sense or give you a fresh perspective.
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
After The Beatitudes, The Sermon goes on to cover a variety of topics, such as divorce and adultery, judgment and condemnation, materialism, false prophets, and The Lord’s Prayer. My original intent was to do one writing on The Sermon, but while studying and in the early stages of writing it became clear to me that there is just too much to cover. One could literally write a book on just these few chapters, and my objective is always to keep these posts concise and readable. Therefore I will happily break things down into more palatable portions. For now I will just encourage my readers to dig into The Sermon on the Mount independently. The Lord has laid it on my heart to write about this section of Scripture, and I welcome interaction from all points of view.
- Was Jesus a Conservative or a Liberal? (trueslant.com)
- Bible Challenge – “Teachings I” (pjsprayerline.blogspot.com)
- Shaken to the Foundations — A Sermon on Hebrews 12 (pastorbobcornwall.blogspot.com)