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Weekly Sunday School

JESUS SERMON ON THE MOUNT

We know from scripture, wherever Jesus went He drew a crowd. Just as it is with this sermon. He lifted himself upon a hill for all to see Him.

In it this sermon, Jesus revealed his attitude toward the Law of Moses, explaining that he requires faithful and sincere obedience, not ceremonial religion. It is known as the Beatitudes (5:3-10). These are a series of blessings promised to those who exhibit the attributes of God’s kingdom. We know that Position, authority, and money are not important in his Kingdom—what matters is faithful obedience from the heart.

5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”NKJV The Beatitudes are not multiple choice—pick what you like and leave the rest. We must take them as a whole. The Beatitudes describe how Christ’s followers should live. Each beatitude tells how to be blessed. “Blessed” means more than happiness; it means singularly favored, graciously approved by God. God’s way of living usually contradicts the world’s. The Beatitudes don’t promise laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, a person who is “blessed” experiences hope and joy, independent of his or her outward circumstances. The disciples, riding on the wave of Jesus’ popularity, needed to first understand kingdom priorities.

Jesus explained that the poor in spirit are blessed. The poor in spirit realize that they cannot please God on their own. They are “poor” or “bankrupt” inwardly, unable to give anything of value to God and thus must depend on his mercy. Only those who humbly depend on God are admitted into the kingdom of heaven. —Life Application Bible Commentary – Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew.

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Just as those who are materially poor have little to offer monetarily, people who are poor in spirit stand before God with open hands, wholly dependent upon Him.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

At one time or another, we all grieve the loss of loved ones and missed opportunities. The mourning that Jesus calls “blessed” includes these pains but is not limited to them. Christians mourn at the way the world is now. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us that God is the father of mercies and the God of all comfort who comforted us in all our tribulations that we may be able to comfort others in their troubles.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

The Greek word praüs has been translated as “meek” and “humble” as well as “gentle,” but none of these words fully embodies what Jesus is describing.

Biblical scholar W. E. Vine says that meekness is what allows us to wait on the Lord and “accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting,” just as Jesus did on the cross. Remember, He could have called down legions of angels to prevent His death, but the Savior “did not open His mouth” (Isa. 53:7). In this beatitude, Jesus might seem to be calling His followers to a life that appears both foolish and misguided, but those who live this way are blessed because God fights for them (Ex. 14:14; Deut. 20:4).

translated “gentle.” The meaning conveys humility and trust in God rather than self-centered attitudes
Life Application Bible Commentary – Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew.

  1. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”

The hunger Jesus spoke of could not be satisfied with a mid-morning snack; the thirst was more than an iced drink could quench. This beatitude issues a challenge. It asks, “How much do you yearn for God’s agenda? Do you want it as much as a starving man craves food or one dying of thirst wants water?”

The way we hunger for food is the way we should hunger for God’s word. For without the word of God we die, maybe not physically but spiritually. A trusting relationship with the Lord is the only way we can satisfy our hunger for righteousness. Full satisfaction will be when we enter into heaven

Jesus is talking about craving justice above all else—the kind of desire that doesn’t merely look to the sins of others but gazes inward, at the heart. Though our world is cracked and bent toward injustice, Jesus promises to satisfy those who hunger and thirst, because God, through His kingdom, is bringing perfect righteousness to our world.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness experience that longing in at least three forms:

  1. The desire to be righteous—to be forgiven and accepted by God; to be right with God.
  2. The desire to do what is right—to do what God commands; imitating and reflecting God’s righteousness.
  3. The desire to see right done—to help bring about God’s will in the world. ___Life Application Bible Commentary – Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Merciful people realize that, because they received mercy from God, they must extend mercy to others. Mercy implies generosity, forgiveness, and compassion, and a desire to remove the wrong as well as alleviate the suffering.
Life Application New Testament Commentary.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

People characterized as pure in heart are morally pure, honest, and sincere. They are people of integrity and single-minded commitment to God.
Life Application New Testament Commentary.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

Jesus came as “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7) and gave the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace between God and humanity (Ephesians 2:14-18; Colossians 1:20
Life Application Bible Commentary – Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew.

This involves action, not just passive compliance. Peacemakers actively work for peace, to cause reconciliation, to end bitterness and strife
Life Application New Testament Commentary.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said to be happy when we’re persecuted for our faith. Persecution can be good because (1) it takes our eyes off earthly rewards, (2) it strips away superficial belief, (3) it strengthens the faith of those who endure, and (4) our attitude through it serves as an example to others who follow. The fact that we are being persecuted proves that we have been faithful; faithless people would be unnoticed..
Life Application Study Bible.

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake:

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad and, for great is your reward in heaven.

The Beatitudes can be understood in at least four ways: (1) They are a code of ethics for the disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2) They contrast Kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). (3) They contrast the superficial “faith” of the Pharisees with the real faith that Christ demands. (4) They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new Kingdom.
Life Application Study Bible.

Jesus calls those who belong to the nine categories he specifies in Matthew “Blessed.” The sense of the term here is “fortunate” or “prosperous.” Who are the lucky ones? The “poor in spirit” are prosperous; “those who mourn” are fortunate; so are “the meek”; and “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”; and “the merciful”; and “the pure in heart”; and “the peacemakers”; and “those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness”; finally, says Jesus, fortunate are “you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. ”

By now, we are used to the idea of wishing well for those who are downtrodden, who are oppressed, who can’t get a break, who have fallen on hard times. This is in no small measure a product of the teaching of Jesus itself, in this passage and elsewhere. Those in his time who heard him speak words such as these, however, had a different general outlook and set of expectations. Theirs was a world in which robbers could leave a man for dead on the side of a road, and it was unclear whether anyone would stop to help. 1 The exalted were truly exalted — the rich, the royal, the Sadducees and Pharisees, the imperial Roman officers, the tax collectors — and they often treated have-nots with undisguised contempt.

From the beginning of his career, Jesus understood clearly the high stakes involved in his political teaching.

Here Jesus proposes a different hierarchy. To see whom he elevates in the Beatitudes, it may be helpful to MAKE a list of qualities opposite to the ones he lists. Cumulatively, what emerges from this collection of “anti-Beatitudes” is a portrait of a privileged class, one that sees those below as essentially inferior. For “the poor in spirit,” the opposite number might be someone arrogant in his righteousness and sense of superiority. For “those who mourn,” we can substitute those whom the world has given cause for rejoicing. For “the meek,” the overbearing. For “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” we may find a contrast in those who are complacent on account of their privileges and defend them vigorously. For “the merciful,” the unforgiving, perhaps the cruel: those who, when they have an advantage over another, even a temporary one, don’t hesitate to exploit it.

Opposite “the pure in heart” are those who are cunning in pursuit of their private gain. Opposite “the peacemakers” are those who act to create or aggravate conflict. Opposite “those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness” are those doing the persecuting, as opposite “you when people insult you . . . because of me” are those seeking to put down Jesus’s teaching and those who follow it.

The Beatitudes begin and end with the promise of the kingdom of heaven (5:3, 10). They progress from the point of greatest need (spiritual bankruptcy) to the point of greatest identification with Christ (experiencing rejection for his sake). The first four beatitudes outline a deepening relationship with God; the second four depict the impact of our relations to others. Clearly, the Beatitudes are not stages through which we pass and go on, but responses that we must keep on making. Each day we must utilize our opportunities to show mercy, practice peacemaking, and purify our intentions.

Life Application Bible Commentary – Life Application Bible Commentary – Matthew.

If you want to live for God, you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you.
In the adult book this line is written: “The eternal rewards of God far outweigh the temporary hardships of this world.