Summary: Today we are starting a series out of Matthew from Jesus famous Sermon on the Mount teaching. We will be gleaming spiritual truths from Jesus owns words as he addresses the crowd that is following Him.
Series: Cliff Hangers
Sermon: Who does God bless?
Video Introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MeH8YyLlDE&feature=related
Today we are starting a series out of Matthew from Jesus famous Sermon on the Mount teaching. We will be gleaming spiritual truths from Jesus owns words as he addresses the crowd that is following Him.
We are calling our series “Cliff Hangers”
These teachings will be risky, some would even say dangerous, they would be teachings that would be opposite of what the religious people of the day were teaching, they would become points of dissension and points of exhilaration.
What Jesus was about to teach them would put them on the edge of their seats and totally change the way people of this day thought or perceived what the Kingdom of God was. Jesus teaching along with their acceptance by the crowd would change the course of history between God and mankind.
Scripture Text: Matthew 5:1-12
1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed 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.
12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Thesis: Jesus in the beginning of His message on the Sermon on the Mount teaches the crowd that God blesses those who have 8 specific attitudes and character traits in their life. These spiritual qualities all come with the promise of a blessing.
Phil Steiger challenges us to imagine this scene of Jesus as he teaches: As Matthew chapter 5 opens, imagine the scene you would have encountered if you were with Jesus. First, you know very little about this teacher. His ministry has just begun and you are just a few days old as a follower, but you have already been witness to some amazing things. Just the day before, Jesus was teaching in the Synagogues and healed “every disease and affliction among the people.” (Matt. 4:23) As far as you can tell, no teacher has actually healed anyone. His message is the kingdom of God. Your curiosity is piqued as you try to absorb the meaning of life in this new kingdom, for it is clearly different from the kingdom you have spent your life in so far. After all, in the kingdom of God, people are healed. Then the crowds begin to follow him. The people are made up of the recently healed and the “need-to-be-healed.” The people bring to him “all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.” (Matt. 4:24) This crowd is not comprised of the socially mobile, the cultural elite or the rich and handsome. In fact, this crowd smells just a bit. It is at this point that Jesus gathers his disciples around him on a hillside and begins to teach them and the crowd a little more about the kingdom of God, and instead of beginning with a list of requirements or moral imperatives, he begins with blessing; he begins with what it is to be blessed in the kingdom of God.
The one repeated key word in our verses is the word “Blessed”
Steiger notes, “To the new disciples, the word “blessed” means to be a privileged recipient of divine favor and was normally applied to the wealthy and powerful. But now, surrounded by a crowd of needy and broken people, this teacher says they are privileged recipients of divine favor.”
The Hebrew word is “barak” which means to kneel and thus be given a blessing from another. Knights would do this when they bowed before Kings upon being knighted or blessed by the King with the sword.
The Greek word is makarios, meaning the “blessed, fortunate, or happy one.” Holman notes, “The special characteristic of New Testament uses of “bless” and related words is close relationship to the religious joy people experience from being certain of salvation and thus of membership in the kingdom of God.”
This is how Jesus decides to open his sermon to them – You are blessed by God if you are the following. Remember many of the people now following Jesus never looked at themselves as blessed but as outcasts, low casts, flawed, poor and needy. Blessed? How? How do we get God’s blessing? Jesus says by being like this!