Summary: The start of a series on the Beatitudes, giving an overview of each. The focus is on how Jesus called us to live contrary to the destructive culture we find ourselves in. The title for the series is borrowed with thanks, but the messages are original.
Matthew 5:1-12 - The Be-attitudes Intro.
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni.
January 7th, 2007
5 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.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Now that we’ve celebrated the Birth of Christ, it is my habit to spend the Sundays in-between Christmas and Easter taking a closer look at the life and teachings of Jesus.
After all, we certainly don’t want to put away our Saviour at the same time we put away the decorations we use to honour his coming!
We’re going to let his words, his teachings, take front and centre on our stage. We’re going to sit down with the disciples as they heard him speak straight to their hearts.
Two thousand years ago Jesus spoke words which contradicted many of the destructive expectations that had been placed on God’s children.
Faith had become a show of one’s own virtues and achievements.
Misguided followers made huge donations in public, to show their piety, and how much God had blessed them over others.
Sacrifices were offered in a show of contriteness,
prayers were more rhetoric than petition,
and teaching had devolved into nit-picking over how long tassels should be and how many times one should wash their hands on the Sabbath.
Jesus’ speaks to this mindset in Matthew’s gospel, chapters 5-7,
a body of teaching that has been called, “the Sermon on the Mount, because many believe that he shared these words with his followers while they were camped out on a mountainside next to the sea of Galilee.
The opening to this sermon, this passage that is called the beatitudes,
is the standard for life that Jesus taught to counteract the extravagant pageantry that had replaced true faith in God.
The word beatitude comes out of the word, “Blessed” that we find in almost every verse, and it tells us that the presence of these qualities in our lives will enrich us and sustain us.
I like to pronounce the word “Be-Attitude” because that reminds me that these words are something that Jesus wants me to BE.
They are neither well-wishes nor charms, and contrary to pop culture, they are not the ancient equivalent of that poem, “All in ever needed to know I learned in Kindergarten”
They are at heart a set of qualities and ways of living which come out of a life which desires to see Christ, and not culture, as King.
They are not tickets to Heaven or badges of spiritual achievement, they do not save our souls, but they come out of a heart which is seeking to follow God despite any and all opposition from the prevailing culture.
They are also a two-way street:
1. if we strive to practice them we will understand more of the deepness and difference of a life lived with Christ as King.
2. if we live our life for Christ we will manifest these qualities more and more in our day to day living.
And in the weeks ahead, we are going to take a very close look at each of these standards on their own, and how Jesus modeled them for us.
VS 1-2 - As the Be-Attitudes are introduced to us, we read that Jesus taught them “to his disciples” while “on a mountain side”.
Much attention has been given to these two details - the term “disciple” can be interpreted to mean anything from “The Big Twelve” to the growing group of close followers to the large crowds that gathered around Jesus.
The term “mountain” leads some to wonder if the location was a special place, like Mt. Sinai, where God declared his law thousands of years ago.
In reality, neither detail makes much impact on how we are to understand the message within. The beatitudes are a calling to live differently than the world around us, and they apply to all of us at every stage of spiritual awareness.