Summary: Today we enter a famous section of the Bible commonly known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This particular beginning section is known as the “beatitudes” from the Latin word for “blessed”. I think it also means beautiful attitudes.
Today we enter a famous section of the Bible commonly known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This particular beginning section is known as the “beatitudes” from the Latin word for “blessed”. I think it also means beautiful attitudes. And I am quite certain this may be the most important sermon I have ever preached.
Imagine with me Jesus walking around the Sea of Galilee with his new disciples becoming more famous by the day with all the miracles he was performing. He was preaching with such authority as had never been seen before. Massive crowds followed him. We know he fed 5000 and 3000 so the crowd here was probably at least that big, it may have even been one of those crowds that he fed.
He sees these crowds and makes his way partially up a mountainside so everyone could see and hear him. People settle in around him with great hope and anticipation, their ears standing up, and then he opens his mouth and the first word that comes out is “blessed”.
Now many have translated the word blessed into happy, and though it is somewhat accurate, it’s much more than that. To these readers it was a state of divine joy and perfect happiness that only the gods could experience. It implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that didn’t depend on outward circumstances, but was a godlike state that could never be moved by life’s happenings. Being completely in God’s favour.
So I imagine him saying it like this with a big pause…..
In hypnosis this is a very common technique for getting people’s undivided attention and bypassing their rational mind. Jesus was a master communicator and he must have had people wondering, what on earth is this guy saying? And that’s when you can really get past their defences.
And we’ll get there later, but notice after these beatitudes he gives them hypnotic suggestions, “you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world”. Isn’t that cool? He get’s their minds all confused, anticipating and focussed, then in essence tells them to cluck like chickens. Well that’s what the stage hypnotist would do, but Jesus suggestions here are much more useful.
It would be like me coming up to the pulpit one day and starting, “This is the guaranteed secret to being filthy rich, sell everything you have, quit your job, leave your family and go live on top of a mountain. You are like a pizza with no pepperoni.”
You see he also uses metaphors which are another great way of getting past the conscious mind. You are like salt, you are a city on a hill, you are a lamp under a bowl. Instantly we are using more than our ears, we are accessing our sense of smell, sight, and even taste to visualize and fully experience what he is saying.
I could say something really hurt, or I could say it hurt like getting your armpits waxed. Which gives you a better picture, which makes you experience what I’m saying?
Alright, enough about his masterful communication techniques, lets get to these blessings.