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Basic Bible: Upside-Down Kingdom

Matthew 5:1-16

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up . . .” (v. 1). The multitude that followed Jesus was not an instantaneous gathering. Jesus had taught in the synagogues throughout Galilee (4:23). Jesus had preached the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus had healed all manner of sickness and disease. His fame was widespread (4:24). The multitude consisted of people from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond Jordan (4:25). Some would have journeyed four or five days from their homes to hear His words.

The words which Jesus spoke begin with verse 3 of Matthew 5 and end with verse 28 of Matthew 7. These words have been titled, “The Sermon on the Mount.” The first words which Jesus spoke in the text before us consist of a series of “blesseds” which are now known as The Beatitudes. Beatitude means supreme blessing. Jesus declared the blessings of God the Father upon the poor in spirit (v. 3), upon they that mourn (v. 4), the meek (v. 5), they which hunger for righteousness (v. 6), those who are merciful (v. 7), the pure in heart (v. 8), the peacemakers (v. 9), those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake and for Jesus’ sake (v. 10, 11). These, without question, are powerful blessings, blessings which many had never before heard.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .” (v. 3). These are the words of the Son. These are the words which God the Father gave to the Son to speak at this time and at this place. This is not, however, the first time on which God made His blessing upon the poor in spirit known to hearers of His word. Isaiah 57:15 states that the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity dwells in the high and holy place with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit. In Isaiah 66:2, God promises to honor them who are poor in spirit and of a contrite spirit.

Jesus, in declaring blessing upon the poor in spirit, said that which the Father had said. New Testament believers see the Father through the Son.

“Blessed are they that mourn . . .” (v. 4). In proclaiming blessing of comfort upon them who mourn, Jesus speaks that which Isaiah prophesied that He should say and identifies Himself as the One whom God anointed (see Isaiah 61:1-2).

“Blessed are the meek . . .” (v. 5). Again, Jesus spoke the word given to the prophets. Jesus repeats that which the Lord God gave David in Psalm 37:11. The words of the Son are the words of the Father. Again, the Father is revealed to New Testament believers by the Son. The meek are those who wait upon the Lord (Ps. 37:9). Waiting upon the Lord requires faith. God, in His grace, counts faith for righteousness.

“Blessed are they which do hunger . . .” (v. 6). Those who hunger for righteousness hunger for that which money cannot buy. They hunger for that which is freely given to all who believe. The filling of that hunger which Jesus proclaims is that of which Isaiah spoke (Isa. 55:1). The blessing of which Jesus speaks are the words of the Father. New Testament believers know that Jesus is the righteousness which the Father gives to whosoever shall believe on the gift that can be purchased without money.

“Blessed are the merciful . . .” (v. 7). The words which Jesus speaks in this verse read like those proclaimed by David in Psalm 41:1. David, UIS (under the influence of the Spirit), declared that the Lord would deliver those who “considereth the poor.” The merciful give that which the poor can never repay. God the Son declares the word of God the Father, the giver mercy to them who can never repay. All are in need of mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart . . .” (v. 8). Again, we hear words which are recorded in the Psalms. Psalm 24 declares that the pure in heart shall be blessed and receive righteousness from God. The words of God the Son are one with the words of God the Father.

“Blessed are the peacemakers . . .” (v. 9). Peacemakers speak peace. Peacemakers make peace happen. The word, peacemaker, does not appear in Old Testament scripture but the voice of the Peacemaker is heard. The psalmist declares, “I will hear what the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people” (Ps. 85:8). New Testament believers know Christ Jesus to be the Promised One who spoke peace and made peace for them with God the Father. In proclaiming this blessing upon peacemakers, Jesus announced that all who do as He commands shall be called children (or sons) of God (see Jn. 1:12).

“Blessed are they which are persecuted . . .” (v. 10). Those who are persecuted for righteousness sake receive the same blessing as them who are poor in spirit. New Testament believers know no righteousness other than that of our Lord and Savior. The last beatitude (v. 11) is the same as that of verse 10. The prophets, too, were persecuted for His righteousness (v. 12).

“Ye are the salt of the earth . . .” (v. 13-16). Both the salt of the earth and light are good and are to be used in the manner that the Peacemaker has directed. “Ye” is all who hear and do the words of Him who is all righteousness. “Ye” are truly the sons of God.

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