Summary: This is the third in a series examining the person of Christ. This week, using The Beatitudes, we look at His teaching.
Intro.: Have you ever met a really strange person.
1. Most of this week we have heard of Immanuel – one strange character
2. A few years ago Sandra and I made a trip to California – the taxi driver proceded to tell us about a recent customer: Jesus. Not sure who was stranger - the taxi driver or his customer.
3. As we will see today and over the next few weeks, Jesus was unique
4. Today we look at His teaching – it, like most of His life, distinguishes Him from the rest of His world
Read: Read Matthew 5:1-12
1. Ralph Earle suggests that the Sermon On The Mount might be called the believers constitution
2. The Beatitudes then serve as the preamble to the constitution.
3. At some point I would like to do a study of the details associated with the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount – but today I want to use a large brush and look at three key recepients of this sermon
The multitude or crowd
The faithful – that would be you and me
I. The Disciples
A. Things have started to roll – Jesus has been baptized, He has faced Satan in the temptations.
B. In the days and weeks since those events, Jesus has chosen the men who would follow Him for the next three years. The disciples come from all walks of life – the most famous are the fisherman and tax collector
C. And the crowds are already starting to gather. His teaching has started to stir the masses (Matt. 4:23). The miracles have started (Matt 4:24). The crowds don’t yet understand, but they want to be where the action is.
D. But Jesus also needs to disciple his own. And so climbs to the top of a hill or mountain. And his disciples follow. It is these twelve men to whom Jesus ultimately directs his sermon. He is setting the foundation for the next three years. What he says during the next few moments will be tested as these men live with Jesus.
(Illustraton) Jesus spent a lot of time on mountains. We already saw that Satan tried to use a position on a mountain outside of Jerusalem to test Jesus. It was on a mountain that Peter, James, and John saw the transfigured Jesus. It was also on a mountain that He delivered the great commission – “Go into all the world and make disciples.”
E. The bar is set – it is set high. And, with one singular exception, the men continued to follow Him even after His death and resurrection.
II. The Multitudes
A. In spite of Jesus attempt to get away with His disciples, the crowds followed (Matt. 7:27-28)
B. Jesus was a unique teachers – he spoke with an authority that seemed to be missing from other teachers.
C. And though the crowd was not the intended audience, they listened and were astounded by what they heard.
D. I suspect that they were amazed to hear that it was the “poor in spirit” that would be blessed. I suspect that they would be surprised to hear that it is those who “mourn” that are blessed.
(Illustration) In fact, they, like us, might find J.P. Phillip’s “Worldly Beatitudes” more realistic. Read J. P. Phillips’ “World’s Beatitudes” from his little book Good News
E. Jesus certainly would stand out in the 21st century – even as he stood out in the first century.
III. The Faithful
A. The disciples and the multitudes – both were present when Jesus taught and preached
B. Yet, through the miracle of inspiration we find ourselves also party to Jesus’ conversation with His disciples - Here we are 2000 years later listening to Jesus
C. Jesus is describing the people that he has come to serve – the poor in spirit “yes, that is me”; the mourning “yes, that is me”; persecuted, yes, sometimes
D. Jesus did not come for the healthy. Jesus did not come for those who are whole. He came for you and me - broken and needy.
E. Once we recognize ourselves in the words of Jesus and respond to Him - He stands ready to bless us.
Reread Matthew 5:1-12