Summary: Jesus begins to share with us His New Kingdom Order. By following Jesus we will experience a transformation of our 1. Vocabulary 2. Our Vision 3. Our Values/ Virtues. Our lives will emulate the way things are in God's Kingdom.
Title: New Kingdom Order - The Beatitudes
Proposition: Jesus begins to share with us His New Kingdom Order. By following Jesus we will experience a transformation of our 1. Vocabulary 2. Our Vision 3. Our Values/ Virtues. Our lives will emulate the way things are in God's Kingdom.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world.
In the first four chapters of his Gospel, St. Matthew shares with us some amazing stories concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. In chapters one and two Matthew shares with us Jesus' genealogy, some stories surrounding his birth and early life. In chapter three Matthew introduces us to John the Baptist and subsequently the baptism of Jesus. In chapter four Matthew shares with us Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, the early days of his ministry and all its successes. He tells us in Matthew 4:24 - 25:
"So his (Jesus) fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan."
What we are to understand then is that Jesus and his disciples were actively preaching the Good News, healing the sick and delivering people from bondage. Jesus was transforming lives and bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. In just a few chapters Matthew has provided us a great deal of material to meditate and digest.
But then we begin to read chapters five through seven and find ourselves immersed in what has been called the greatest sermon of all time. We find ourselves sitting on the mountainside listening to Jesus give us this amazing sermon which over the years has been called "The Magna Charta of Christianity", "The Manifesto of the King", "Life Under the Reign of God" and "The Law of Christian Society.
As you read it, I think you have to agree what Matthew shares with us here in these three chapters has to be considered a part of his greatest gift to the Church. No other Gospel writer shares with us in such a concise way so many of Jesus' essential truths and teachings. If you really want to know what the Christian life is all about then read I would encourage you to read, meditate and study these three chapters.
However, don't attempt to do it all in one setting. Or at least don't try to just read them and think that you have absorb it all. Anyone who has taken the time to read all three chapters in one setting knows what I mean. There is more material in these 111 verses than you can absorb in one setting. or even a few settings. What Jesus teaches and preaches here is enough material to last us a lifetime.
It has long been known that the sermon that Matthew shares with us here is actually a compilation of a great many of Jesus' sermons put together in one setting. That is to say that Matthew has collected the main themes of many of Jesus' sermons and complies them into the sermon that we see here in chapters five through seven. It doesn't mean that Jesus did not share all that we have written here but instead of them happening all at once they are pieces of different sermons that have been put together in one long sermon.
Dr. William Barclay correctly points out "anyone who heard it in its present form would be exhausted long before the end." "There is far too much in it for one hearing." One would "be dazzled with excess of light long before it was finished." I think we all would agree this morning. There is a great deal of spiritual revelation, insight and inspiration in these chapters.
I believe that what St. Matthew is doing here is letting us know very quickly in his Gospel Jesus' identity and message. He has taken great pains in sharing with us that Jesus of Nazareth is in fact the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah and the one who has the power to baptize us with God's Holy Spirit. In chapters five through seven St. Matthew wants us to understand that this is the life that we can live through Jesus Christ. This is the life the LORD will enable us to live and this is the life that He desires for us to live.
Some have theorize that Jesus' sermon here is one that must not be taken literal. That believe that there are sections that we must allegorize and other sections we must look at as metaphors or parables. That what we have here is a more like a Platonist goal of the Christian life and not an instruction manual for the Christian life. That is to say that one must understand that Jesus was not telling us that this is how we are to live as his disciples in this present life but is sharing with us some lofty aspirations that we are simply to contemplate upon and perhaps if we desire we may attempt to attain to some limited measure.