Text: Matthew 5:1-12
The lessons that Jesus taught His disciples were by no means easy to apply in life. The Teacher taught very hard lessons. Nevertheless no one could fault Jesus in the least.
1. Biblically based
Each and every word that Jesus taught could be traced back to deep Scriptural roots. Thus His teachings were theologically sound.
2. Practical and realistic
The lessons Jesus taught were always down to earth. His pronouncements of blessings were not mere platitudes!
3. Possible to Attain
The lessons Jesus taught were things that were not impossible to attain. Yes, they were lofty goals, but they were attainable ones.
4. Assurance of the Lord’s blessings
The promise of the Lord’s blessings must have brought great encouragement to the heart! It would be worth it all if all efforts would meet with the Lord’s blessings!
FOREWARNING CONCERNING PERSECUTION
The last lesson must have been the most difficult one to learn. Suffering is something many pray that they may be spared from. Yet here was Jesus teaching His disciples that they must not be afraid of suffering that comes from persecution! That has to be one of the worst kind of suffering!
What was in Jesus’ mind as He taught His disciples about persecution? Let us consider the following thoughts.
1. Prophecy Concerning the Persecution and Suffering of the Messiah
What Jesus taught concerning persecution, He knew that He would personally taste first hand. There was no mistaking the forewarning of the prophet Isaiah as he wrote about the suffering that the Messiah would have to undergo and endure.
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.”
Jesus knew that He would have to personally suffer much. He steeled His mind to endure great suffering. It would be wise for His disciples to cultivate a strong mind and spirit as well.
2. Practical Anticipation of the persecution instigated by Satan
Jesus, knowing the Scriptures as well as He did, would of course be familiar with this text found in the Book of Daniel.
“He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand…”
The context of this text from the book of Daniel looked to the future when the antichrist would rise up and challenge God in the most arrogant manner. One of the things that he would do was to plan a pogrom, a campaign of persecution, against all who believed in God. It was wise and right to prepare the disciples to anticipate persecution.
It would be unwise if Jesus had not prepared His disciples for possible persecution to come. His word of warning may have sounded startling, but it was necessary that the disciples train their hearts and minds to accept and bear with the suffering that comes from persecution.
THE BLESSING PROMISED
The promise of blessing by Jesus is most interesting to note. Let us take time to review the different blessing that He promised to His disciples if they were to choose to follow Him:-
Spiritual State – Special Blessing
1. To the poor in spirit – “The Kingdom of Heaven”.
2. To those who mourn – “Comfort”.
3. To those who are meek – “Inherit the earth”.
4. To those who hunger and thirst after righteousness – “Filled”.
5. To those who are merciful – “Mercy”.
6. To those who are pure in heart – “See God”.
7. To those who are peacemakers – “Sons of God”.
8. To those who are persecuted – “The Kingdom of Heaven”.
Each blessing is slightly differently phrased. This suggests to us that each of God’s blessing is both special and specific. Each blessing is to be discovered within its own context. May our hearts be challenged to receive each and every blessing promised.