- Jesus is the king
- We are part of Jesus’ new kingdom
- Jesus teaches us how to live in this kingdom
Discuss: Identify traditions from other nations and cultures that are different than the ones we have here in the United States (for example, in Great Britain they drive on the left hand side of the road).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sets up what life should be like for kingdom citizens inside His kingdom. As you will see, Jesus is asking us to make a cultural shift from our natural, human-centered values.
Key Word—Beatitudes (Greek, μακάριος or Latin, beatus)
Blessed: meaning favored by God within a relationship with Him, that extends beyond temporal circumstances; like happiness, but extending way beyond the happenings or events of life.
Keep in mind about the Sermon on the Mount:
- Jesus is not suggesting this is how we earn Salvation or Divine affection.
- Jesus is not establishing a grid of legalistic rules or commands.
- Jesus’ teaching deeply contrasts with the current understanding
The Book of Sirach
- Written by a guy named Jesus (no, not that Jesus)
- Written around 175 BC
- Found in the Catholic Bible (as Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical literature)
- Not inspired but historically helpful
I can think of nine whom I would call blessed,
and a tenth my tongue proclaims:
a man who can rejoice in his children;
a man who lives to see the downfall of his foes.
Happy the man who lives with a sensible wife,
and the one who does not plow with ox and ass together.
Happy is the one who does not sin with the tongue,
and the one who has not served an inferior.
Happy is the one who finds a friend,
and the one who speaks to attentive listeners.
How great is the one who finds wisdom!
But none is superior to the one who fears the Lord.
Jewish Understanding of a Successful Person
- You are always pleased with your children
- Your see your enemies falter, while you succeed
- Your spouse never gets agitated, irate or irrational with you.
- Your work runs smoothly
- Your words are well-chosen
- You have a secure position of authority
- You have lots of friends
- Your friends listen when you speak
- You always seem to know what to do
Key Point – Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus invites those who do not have it all together to get together with others who do not have it all together.
- Have you ever felt like you are completely empty- with nothing more to give? Then Jesus is teaching you have a part in the kingdom of heaven.
- Have you ever felt the grip of grief take hold of your heart. Then Jesus says that you will find comfort inside the kingdom.
- Has the world ever humbled you to the point where you didn’t feel as bold as before? Then Jesus says that you will get much more out of life.
- Have you ever been wronged and you carry around this deep desire to see things made right. Jesus says that you will ultimately find that in His kingdom.
- Have you ever been wronged and you didn’t seek justice? Then Jesus says that you of all people will experience mercy.
- Have you ever done something with good, clean motives and you are still waiting on a reward? Jesus is saying the reward from God for a pure heart is God Himself.
- Have you ever found yourself in the middle of someone else’s fight trying to create peace out of turmoil? Then Jesus is saying you of all people will be identified as one of God’s children.
- Have you ever been treated unfairly while trying to do the right thing? Then Jesus says you are part of Jesus’ Kingdom.
Two Reasons to Rejoice, Matthew 5:12:
- Your reward is coming
- Your story is rewarding
- Contrast Jesus’ beatitudes, that which brings happiness, and joy, with what is commonly accepted as bringing happiness and joy.
- Which of Jesus’ beatitudes do you connect with the most?
TALK IT OUT
- If you had your own kingdom, what kind of culture would you want to create to help guarantee your people’s joy and happiness? Now read Matthew 5:3-12. How does the kingdom you described compare with the one Jesus describes?
- Read Matthew 5:3, Ephesians 2:1-5, John 3:16-17 and John 15:4-5. According to these passages, how could recognizing our spiritual poverty apart from God result in deep joy on our part?
- Read Matthew 5:5. What kind of person do you think of when you hear someone referred to as “meek”? Unlike some of the images that might come to mind, meekness has actually been described as “controlled strength.” Instead of being someone who is unable to assert themself in a situation, the meek person is someone who could assert themself but chooses not to for the sake of others. How could being a meek person result in deep joy on our part?
- Read Matthew 5:7 and 9:10-13. Jesus cautions us that being right doesn’t make us better than other people or more like God. Now read Romans 3:10-12, Titus 3:3-8, Galatians 6:1-3, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:30-37 and Luke 23:32-34. According to these passages, what things should we keep in mind when we interact with those who may have done us wrong or those whose needs may inconvenience us or cause us considerable personal sacrifice?
- Read Matthew 5:9. Whenever there is turmoil, peace doesn’t just happen. Steps have to be taken on purpose to restore or make peace, and that’s a role that Jesus calls us to as believers. Now read James 1:19-20, Romans 12:14-21 and Ephesians 4:29-5:2. What are some of the peacemaking strategies we find in these passages?
LIVE IT OUT
- We could say from reading Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) that deep joy—way beyond the temporary happiness of earthly life – should be one of the identifying characteristics of a believer. Would you say your life is one of deep joy? If not, take a few moments right now to ask God to show you how to start moving in that direction.
- Is there anyone in your life right now with whom you do not have a peaceful relationship? Is there anyone to whom you need to show mercy? What is one step you could take this week to improve those relationships so they are more reflective of the kingdom of heaven?