Bible Study

MATTHEW 5:1-12

The mountainside was covered in people, a multitude of longing hearts, each one looking for that elusive “something”.  They had heard the stories about Jesus healing the sick.  Was He the long promised Messiah?  Seated in a place of honor near Jesus, I imagine the disciples were excited that they were part of the New World Order.  Jesus, the Messiah had called each of them to walk along side of Him as He ushered in the Kingdom of God.  They probably had visions of King David’s mighty acts of valor and the dream of one day fighting beside Jesus to claim His throne.

Jesus sits them down and begins to try and explain God’s plan and what their role in those plans would be. Their eyes are shining with fervor until He begins to lay out the Beatitudes.   He needed to prepare their minds and hearts to accept God’s plan.  They needed to see from a New Perspective.  Who would have thought that Jesus would begin His talk with the idea that their spirits were poor and beggarly?  Of course He meant the multitudes not His followers.  Next, He began to talk about Godly sorrow over personal sin and the fallen state of the world.

I wonder if they, like most of us, hearing these words quickly did an assessment of those around the circle, categorizing how much the others fell short in spiritual areas.  How long did it take for His words of truth to cut into each heart so that He could lead them to the realization of their own deep spiritual need, the aching need that leads to a sorrow which finally submits to God?  Even then, did they really understand that His message was greater than their personal needs or the needs of their people?

Did Jesus spoon feed each statement or did He feed it in one large ladle full to the hungry crowds?  Was the music of His poetry and the mystery of His words enough to begin a change in hungry hearts?

What did these words mean to the people in this culture and time? Does it mean anything to those of us who live 2000 years later in a day of electronics and media?

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed 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. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Attention to all those who are poor in spirit, mourning your sins, willing to submit to God, practicing mercy in forgiving even your enemies, seekers of righteousness, those pure in heart, peacemakers, people willing to be persecuted…

Not an  attractive advertisement for luring people to  sign up for God’s New World Order.  What was Christ talking about?

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