5:3-12pp — Lk 6:20-23
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5-7 = The Sermon on the Mount
These 8 blessing, the Beatitudes are the most provocative portion.
Matthew 5-7 = The Sermon of Sermons
This first part is about blessings, this means Jesus is very concerned with our blessings, happiness, joy, etc.
Genesis 1-2, after Creation, the first thing God did was bless man (Genesis 1:28 “I bless them – be fruitful, increase in number, and rule over the area.”)
We cannot live without blessing.
Man, as a creation is a dependent being.
God created, and blessed, and we are to be a blessing to others.
- Some people think,
- OT = material blessings.
- NT = spiritual blessings.
But, these are the same, they both have both blessings. Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in court of sinners nor sit in the seat of mockers, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on his Word he meditates day and night.”
Jesus came to the people and presented his teaching on the hillside. At that time, there was no public speech system, and he didn’t use a natural amphitheater. But here is a sloping hill, with a large crowd below him, and he at the top (perhaps disciples in the front line).
Yes, of course the crowd was there and listening, but the main target = DISCIPLES, not necessarily the whole crowd.
Just like today, in the congregation, God knows the heart, what is your inner reaction to the sermon.
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and take it to heart.”
You are blessed to be a disciple, not the crowd.
The 8 Blessings:
#1: The poor in spirit
Opposite = “Wretched, cursed, are the spiritually self-sufficient for theirs is the kingdom of Hell.”
We can’t choose which blessing we want and leave the rest.
Poor in spirit is a blessing because you have the kingdom of God, you have salvation.
We are poor, bankrupt, and dependent on God’s mercy to give or do anything right. We are ultimately powerless, hopeless, helpless. As long as you think that you can DO something to save yourself, you can never be saved.
We have nothing to boast about our salvation.
Opposite = “Wretched are those who deny the tragedy of their sinfulness, for they will be troubled.”
Mourning for our own sins, with the realization of our total depravity (unworthiness). Only God can take our sorrow and sin, only God can forgive.
“God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.” (Rev.)
In this world, sometimes we don’t enjoy fame and fortune, but sorrow and suffering, but always we enjoy real comfort from our God, Jesus.
Opposite = “Wretched are the proud for they will not lose the earth…”
Meek = gentle and humble in heart (this is Jesus)
Meekness IS NOT weakness.
Meekness (biblically) = power, to control your own power.
Moses was the meekest man on earth – he received a HUGE inheritance on earth, but Pharaoh, the proud man, lost his earth.
This can also be true for the animal world. Imagine lions and tigers, they seem to be kings of the jungle, but the land is becoming smaller and smaller for them. Most of them are in prison (zoos). But cows, goats, sheep, lambs are so meek, and their land is getting bigger and bigger.
We must be meek before man and God.
- Meek before man = kind, generous, open-minded.
- Meek before God = prepared, well-equipped, to be used by God anytime, everytime. If so, you are meek before God.
When God wants to use you, if you aren’t ready, it means you arent’ meek. If you’re uncomfortable, etc, you aren’t meek. Church workers must be meek to be used by God.
#4: Hungry and thirsty
Opposite – “Wretched are those who senselessly justify themselves for their efforts will be in vain.”
Hunger and thirst = intense longings that we must satisfy – we cannot live without them.
Psalm 132? “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after God.”
What kind of righteousness? Most likely it refers to personal righteousness. – so filled with God that we can completely do God’s will without sinning, without making mistakes.
Also, righteousness for the world, to see the end of the evil in the world.
We will be filled, God will completely satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness.
We have 3 desires:
- Righteousness – saved, forgiven, etc.
- To do what is right – imitating God
- To see right done in this world – to help bring about God’s will in this world.
Opposite = “Cursed are the merciless for no mercy will be shown to them.”
Just sitting here = we are receiving mercy from God, since we continually receive mercy from God, we must also show mercy to others.
Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.”
“If you forgive man, your Father will forgive you. If not, your Father will not forgive you.”
Matthew 18 – the unmerciful servant.
One day, the king wanted to settle accounts, one servant owed 1,000,000,000,000 (enormous amount), and he couldn’t pay, so the king set him free. That man, on the way home, met another man who owed him $10. He grabbed him and choked him, and the servant said, “Please be patient!” but he threw him in prison. Later, the king heard, and called him in and reprimanded him. In conclusion, this is how God the Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your friend from your heart.
Not forgiving others = putting myself in a prison of hatred. God bless us to forgive others.
#6: Pure in heart
Opposite = “Cursed are the impure in heart for they are spiritually blind.”
Pure in heart = morally, spiritually pure, honest, sincere. People of sincerity, integrity. One single minded commitment to God. This kind of commitment only comes from Jesus Christ. How can we see God who is a spirit? Only by seeing Jesus Christ can we see God. Through our WHOLE devotion and commitment to God, we see him through the eyes of faith (not physical eyes).
Opposite – “Cursed are the peace-rejecters for they will be called sons of the Devil.”
Jesus = the King of Peace. Isaiah (He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Prince of Peace).
- Ephesians, “Jesus has removed all barriers…”
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid.”
- “Therefore, since we have been justified in Christ…”
Who are the peace-rejecters? Christ-rejecters.
Peacemakers = more than just living peacefully. They will be recognized as sons and daughters of God. Reconciling the lost to God in Jesus name.
2 Corinthians 5:9 “God is reconciling the world to him through Jesus Christ and he entrusted us with the message of reconciliation.”
God bless us to be peacemakers.
#8: Persecuted (this is part of the package, you don’t get to say, “No, thank you” to this one).
Opposite = “Cursed are the uncommitted for convenience sake, for their destination is Hell.”
Whether we agree or not, this age is under the control of Satan (”the prince of this age”) Spiritually, this age is wicked, sinful, unrighteous. When we pursue righteousness, doing the will of God, we should not expect to receive applause and praise and honors from this world, but rather persecution from this world.
Jesus, our Lord, was persecuted and insulted MUCH in this world for us. You WILL be too. Don’t be surprised. Expect it – if you are living as God wants you to live.
What’s the reward? The kingdom of heaven.
What’s beautiful about this? Jesus’ first message = “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near!” from that time on, he continually preached that.
Then today, in this beatitudes, the LAST reward matches the first reward – the Kingdom of Heaven. Rounding out this list = Kingdom of Heaven.
In both places, first and last, the reward is described as the present tense “theirs IS…” not “their WILL be…”
All the other rewards = future tense, but the kingdom of heaven = Here and Now. From first to last by faith.
God bless us all to live the life of the Kingdom of Heaven, though our lives are in this world.