Scripture Text – Matthew 5:1-16
Please read the Scripture text to get a background on the subject. You can click on the link for a NKJV reading..
His follower’s character (Matthew 5:1-12). As the multitudes continued to flock to Jesus (see Matthew 4:25), He went up on a mountainside and sat down. It was the custom of Rabbis to sit as they taught. His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them. Matthew 5–7 is commonly called or known as “the Sermon on the Mount” because Jesus delivered it on a mountain. Though the mountain’s exact location is unknown, it was most likely in Galilee and was apparently near Capernaum on a place which Luke describes as being “level” (Luke 6:17). “Disciples” refers not to the Twelve, as some suggest, but to the crowds following Him; “the people were astonished at His teaching.” – Matthew 7:28.
Jesus instructed them in view of His announcement of the coming kingdom (Matthew 4:17). Natural questions on the heart of every Jew would have been, “Am I eligible to enter Messiah’s kingdom? Am I righteous enough to qualify for entrance?” The only standard of righteousness the people knew was that which was laid down by the current religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. Would one who followed those standards be acceptable in Messiah’s kingdom? Jesus’ sermon therefore must be understood in the context of His offer of the kingdom to Israel and the need for repentance to enter that kingdom. The sermon did not give a “Constitution” for the kingdom nor did it present the way of salvation. The sermon showed how a person who is in right relationship with God should conduct his life. While the passage must be understood in the light of the offer of the messianic kingdom, the sermon applies to Jesus’ followers today as much as it did when He taught it, for it demonstrates the standard of righteousness God demands of His people. Some of the standards are general such as, “You cannot serve God and mammon (money).” – Matthew 6:24; some are specific, for instance, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” – Matthew 5:41; and some pertain to the future, for example, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name?’ ” – Matthew 7:22.
Jesus began His sermon with what we refer too as “the Beatitudes,” statements beginning with Blessed are. . . . “Blessed” means “happy” or “fortunate” (see Psalm 1:1). The qualities Jesus mentioned in this list, “the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek,” etc., and they obviously could not be products of Pharisaic righteousness. The Pharisees were concerned primarily with external qualities, but the qualities Jesus mentioned are internal, they aren’t religious, their spiritual. These come only when one is properly related to God through faith, when one places their complete trust in God.
The poor in spirit are those who consciously depend on God, not on themselves; they are “poor” inwardly, having no ability in themselves to please God and they recognize this fact (Romans 3:9–12). Those who mourn are those who recognize their needs and present them to the One who is able to assist. Those who are meek are truly humble and gentle and have a proper appreciation of their position in relation to God. (Praeis, the Greek word rendered “meek,” is translated “gentle” in its three other places in the New Testament: Matthew 11:29; 21:5; 1 Peter 3:4). Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness have a spiritual appetite, a continuing desire for personal righteousness. The merciful extend mercy and compassion to others, thus demonstrating God’s mercy which has been extended to them. The pure in heart are those who are inwardly clean from sin through faith in God’s provision and a continual acknowledging of their sinful condition. The peacemakers show others how to have inward peace with God and how to be instruments of peace in the world. Those persecuted for righteousness desire and possess God’s righteousness even though it brings them persecution through trials and tribulations.
To Be Continued