Summary: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2)
Harmony of the Gospels
Title: Sermon on the Mount
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2)
“And seeing the multitudes”-This refers to the multitudes mentioned in Matthew 4:25, “And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.”
“he went up into a mountain”-There are about a dozen mountains in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee, any one of which, could have been the location for this discourse. He went up into the mountains to get away from the multitudes. It is now necessary that He devote more time to teaching the men that He will entrust His church to.
“and when he was set”-Jesus set when He taught. The custom was for the teacher to set. That is how He taught in the synagogues and He would sit down for this sermon also.
“his disciples came unto him”-Those that followed Him were drawn by His teaching and the miracles. The ones that He had chosen as apostles were part of this group.
“And he opened his mouth”-Matthew uses these words to arouse the reader’s awareness, and to prepare them for a teaching that is going to be profound. These same words are found two places in Acts: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” (Acts 8:35); “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” (Acts 10:34)
“and taught them, saying,”-What follows is some of the greatest teaching in all of scripture. He is teaching His disciples, not the multitudes. They would be the ones to give it to the people, after His death. He will teach them that the greatest joy and happiness is not found in this life, but is laid up in heaven for those who willingly rest in the good will and pleasure of God, and who work to do good to other men, even those who seek to harm them. Happiness for all men, in this world and the next, will come only to those who do their best to adapt themselves to a life that is lived according to the words of Christ.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
The word “blessed”, as it is used here, declares an objective reality that is the result of a divine act, not a subjective feeling. The promise is not present happiness; it is a declaration of God’s blessings that will be bestowed upon those who are His children. Some of God’s blessings may be realized in this life; however the total blessedness to be given by God to His people will be a future reality of His Kingdom.
“poor in spirit”-In the Old Testament they are the pious or saintly who wait upon God. They are likely to be poor by the world’s standards, but they have the promise of privileges and a better life in the Kingdom. In our day, only the saved sinner can know His poverty of spirit, and only the Spirit of God can reveal it to him. The “poor in spirit” are those who are the true people of God. They know that their lives are not in their own control and they are dependent upon God. They lack a great ego and feeling of self-worth, but their security and identity is in God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not telling them how to become citizens of the Kingdom. They are already citizens of the Kingdom. As Christians we are “poor in spirit”, in fact we are spiritually bankrupt, because we recognize that everything is His and we are completely dependent on Him. But we do have something to give, which the world wants. “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Corinthians 6:10) Paul is speaking about the spiritual blessings that are available to all who believe in Christ.