Matthew chapter 5 is known as “The Sermon on the Mount” because Jesus gave it on a hillside near Capernaum, which was pretty much His headquarters when He was in Galilee. This “sermon” was probably a bunch of sermons given over a period of days.
Why do I say it was a bunch of sermons?
Whenever Jesus preached, His sermons always flowed. Like most sermons today they have a beginning, middle, and end. These “sermons” as you will see are short and to the point. I believe that they are just the notes that Matthew took to give the “highlights” of what Jesus was saying…
The first 16 verses of Matthew 5 describe the character of a true Christian. The rest of the Sermon on the Mount deals with the conduct that grows out of the character. Character always come before conduct, because what we are determines what we do.
In verses 1-16 Jesus shows us that true righteousness is inward. In your heart.
Matthew chapter 5 shows us how to be a citizen of Heaven, a citizen in God’s Kingdom. Citizens of Heaven have a different life. If you live like you are there, you can have it all here. So He is telling us how to live now, so we can live like this in Heaven.
Enormous crowd were following Jesus, everyone wanted to see Him and listen to Him.
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed” means “happy” –
The poor in spirit are happy. “Poor in spirit” means humble. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want and thirst for a Redeemer. They want to be in the kingdom of God.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
To mourn here is referring to our attitude toward sin. A sense of anguish for sin in a person that has accepted Christ as their savior.
Matthew Henry said:
“Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worked true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God…”
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
The dictionary defines meek as having or showing a quiet and gentle nature; not wanting to fight or argue with other people. Enduring injury with patience and without resentment.
Meekness doesn’t mean you shy away and cower under a threat, that you have no back bone…. not at all, meekness is a strength. Our Lord Jesus was meek and lowly.
The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer. It takes strength to not be provoked and retaliate.
The meek aren’t inheriting the earth today…who’d want it?
However, when Christ is reigning then they will inherit the earth.
If we have accepted Christ as our Savior and live like Christ and be meek like Him, we become a joint heir of all He will inherit and since He will inherit the earth then so shall we.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
This is a deep passion for personal righteousness. Righteousness is for all spiritual blessings. These were purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be honest. If we truly have this hunger, this thirst for God’s blessings then we will get them. That is being filled with the Holy Spirit.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
This is misunderstood in our day because it makes obtaining mercy conditional by being merciful to others. When in reality you will be merciful because you have already received mercy from our Lord Jesus.
We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion for others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and try lead them to salvation.
1 Peter 2:9-10
9 … you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their sin, so they cannot look upon His purity. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are washed in His blood and are made pure.
1 John 3:2-3
2 Beloved, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
The peacemakers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken.
Christians should bring peace, between people and God, and between those who are at odds with each other. We share the Gospel of peace.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Jesus told us we would be persecuted if we follow Him:
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.
Matthew Henry said:
“Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.”
These fist 12 verses talk about the blessings we will get if we are like Jesus wants us to be…in other words, be like Jesus…
Next time we will see the following verses (v.13 -v.20) that tell us how we should be – not to get the blessings – but as a result of the blessings.