Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: What was "Woodstock"? It was a Rock music festival that took place in America in 1969. It was characterized by drugs, sex and rock music. When Jesus drew a crowd, he didn’t have to rely on those things. Large crowds followed Him everywhere He went.

Discipleship, Equipped for Ministry, Teaching, Matthew 5, Leadership | report

Matthew 5 - Part 1 - Woodstock without the drugs, sex and rock and roll?

I was only 14 years old when Woodstock took place. I had just become a Christian that Christmas. What was Woodstock? It was a Rock music festival that took place in America in 1969. "3 Days of Peace and Music". it attracted 300,000 people. It featured "Creedence Clearwater Revival", Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, "Santana", Janis Joplin, "The Who", Joe Cocker, "Blood, Sweat & Tears", "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young", Jimi Hendrix and many more. Most people say, "If you remember Woodstock, you weren’t there". It was characterized by drugs, sex and rock music. When Jesus drew a crowd, he didn’t have to rely on those things. Large crowds followed Him everywhere He went.

In the Matthew 5 is where Jesus teaches the sermon on the mountain. Ever wondered what mountain? We’ll never know. We are not told. Matthew, why do you leave out details like that? Because we want to know things that just aren’t all that important, I guess.

Apparently when He saw the people gathered on the slopes He didn’t just get out and teach them. He decided to leave them and go up the mountain. His disciples followed Him and that’s where the sermon on the mountain comes from. It wasn’t taught to the people! It was taught to the disciples! The Beatitudes therefore are not for the general populace but for men and women who already have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Him then the sermon on the mountain will have little value for you. It is kind of like an intensive leadership training course for Discipleship. A mountaintop retreat for men’s ministry. I like it! Maybe Jesus is emphasizing the fact that Disciples are meant to live at a higher level. He sits down and takes His time to teach them how to do just that.

He taught them the Beatitudes. Someone has called them the BE ATTITUDES, but actually the word has to do with blessing. We’ll look at that later.

Jesus comes down from the mountain in Matthew 8 and people followed Him. How long did He stay up there with His disciples? It doesn’t say but I tend to think that Matthew’s notes are just a summary. He might have been up there for a week teaching them this stuff. And even though the crowds had to wait, He put leadership training first. He was into making disciples, not just doing it all Himself.

When He did come down, if He stood below the crowds on the side of the mountain, the acoustics would be perfect for public speaking and His voice would carry to the great multitudes of men, women and children who followed Him. This is like Woodstock without the rock music and drugs. People came from everywhere to hear Him and left sober, healed and restored.

But before He came down, He taught His disciples. I am puzzled by some of the things that Jesus says to His disciples. Strangest kind of leadership training I have ever seen! It might have been a series of messages that He taught rather than just one long sermon. The Beatitudes read as if they are just a summary of the main headings of what He taught. Matthew doesn’t give us the manuscript version of the sermons.

I don’t know about you but when I read the beatitudes they don’t really stir me on the first reading to teach this stuff to my leaders. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." What’s that supposed to mean?

"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted" Is it just me, but yeah, I would comfort someone who mourns. What’s the big deal with that? Most people would.

"Blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth" doesn’t make sense to me. Not when we have dictators like Mugabe in the world and so many countries who practice such violence to get their point across. What is that saying? When is this going to happen? I don’t see evidence of this! What is this - a pipe dream?

What about "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God"? Why?

I can understand the persecuted getting the kingdom of heaven. Just ask anybody working with the persecuted Churches of the world and you’ll hear of how many are dying.

If you’re not confused, you are a better person than me. I don’t get it on first reading. It doesn’t seem to grab me because I don’t understand what He’s getting at but I know that I don’t have to rely on my understanding.

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