The Sermon on the Mount
Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Matthew preserved a very precious collection of sayings of Jesus (Matthew 5-7). This collection of teachings of Jesus is often called “The Sermon on the Mount”. The teachings may be said to be a succinct summary of the things Jesus wanted His disciples to learn.
TEACHING OF THE DISCIPLES
The multitudes came with their sick and demon-possessed. Did Jesus preach to them as they thronged around Him? The answer is obvious. He certainly wanted them to hear about the Kingdom of God.
However a careful reading of the following text suggests to us that the famous Sermon on the Mount was primarily addressed to the Disciples (more than just The Twelve, for Jesus had not done His selection just yet).
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a
mountain, and when He was seated His disciples
came to him. Then He opened His mouth and
There were two groups of people. There were the multitudes. There were also a group of disciples. While Jesus sought to minister to both, at this particular time and context He ministered to the disciples who stepped away from the multitudes to sit and learn at His feet. (Luke mentioned that there was another group of disciples whom Jesus sent out. That group numbered about seventy people [Cf. Luke 10:1] It would be correct to say that there was a fairly large number of people who sat to listen to what Jesus had to teach them).
The first series of thoughts began with the word “Blessed”. This series of pronouncements became popularly known as “The Beatitudes”.
1. Gracious words
Luke once described the way Jesus spoke with these words.
“So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at
the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.”
John also was deeply impressed by the way Jesus ministered and observed.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among
us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the
only begotten of the Father, full of grace and
truth. And of His fullness we have all received,
and grace for grace. For the law was given
through Moses, but grace and truth came
through Jesus Christ.”
John 1:14, 16-17
As Jesus gazed upon His disciples, He wanted them to understand and appreciate the fact that if they truly intended to follow Him, they would have great blessings from God indeed! What gracious words of encouragement poured from His lips!
2. Understanding the word “Blessing”
The blessings that Jesus pronounced were deep and profound. Let us take note of some of the blessings pronounced and recorded in the Scriptures.
a. A Pronouncement of blessing may be very straightforward
“So God created man in His own image; in the
image of God He created him; male and female
He created them. Then God blessed them and
God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over
the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air,
and over every living thing that moves on the earth. ‘ ”
b. A Pronouncement of blessing uttered in apposition to ‘A Pronouncement of a Curse”
This was certainly the case laid out by Moses and recorded in Deuteronomy 28. On the one hand there was the promise of great blessings, but only if there was full obedience on the part of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). On the other hand, Moses also warned that the Curses of the Lord would apply if the children of Israel were to walk contrary to God’s laws.
i) Promise of Blessings
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the
Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which
I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high
above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come
upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the
Lord your God:”
ii) Warning of Cursing
“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the
Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments
and His statutes which I command you today, that all these
curses will come upon you and overtake you.”