Key Text: Matthew 4;23 -5:12
Jesus was is concerned about the people who become His disciples. He realised that the greatest asset is people not programmes, so He spent a lot of His time in their training. He wasn’t teaching them methods but shaping their character. He knew that the credibility of His message (Father heart & Kingdom come) would be tested most by the credibility of His messengers
At the time in Jesus ministry great crowds were following Him. He was the great teacher and He knew how to make the truth clear and understandable. Yet in the midst of His popularity He left them and went up a mountain. His answer to the overwhelming needs of humanity was better trained disciples.
Those who were committed to being changed followed Him and He taught them. – He held nothing back He said ‘if you want to follow me this is what I mean.’ He was always compassionate, never sympathetic and He never lowered His standards to accommodate the moral principles of the day. He was concerned with quality of discipleship.
An idea, no matter how powerful it is , is just an idea. It is the delivery of that idea which has the power to change the world. At least that’s what Jesus believed.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus had a vision that no one else had ever been good enough or bold enough to attempt. He believed in a kingdom. Not an empire that would come by force but a people who would bring the world to its knees. A world of willingly surrendered hearts, where things on earth happen as they do in heaven.
As His followers we are called to different. Different to nominal religious people. Different to the secular world. Jesus does not say ‘if you do this you will be saved.’ What does say is ‘If you are saved this is how you should live.’
In what is traditionally known as the ‘Sermon on the mount’ Jesus sets out eight demanding responsibilities of those who would be His disciples.
- Poor in spirit
- To be those who mourn
- To be meek
- Hunger & Thirst for righteousness
- To be merciful
- Pure in heart
- To be a peacemaker
- Persecuted for rightousness
Each is followed by a reward:
Theirs is the kingdom of God
They will be comforted
They will inherit the earth
They will be filled
They will be shown mercy
They will see god
They will be called the sons of god
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Jesus begins each statement with the exhortation ‘Blessed’ – Happy. When Jesus talks of a ‘Blessed’ people He is talking of those who have a sufficiency that is internal – not a self -sufficiency but a God Sufficiency understanding who Jesus is and that He is more than enough.
- Enough to save us by His once & for all sacrifice
- Enough to provide for us.
- Enough to bless us.
- Enough to equip us.
- Enough to strengthen us.
Jesus is all we need; there is nothing and no one to add to Christ. His person and His work are perfect. He is the way, the truth, and the life John 14:6. He is the only one who can save, provide, bless, equip, and strengthen. Having faith in Christ involves trusting in His complete sufficiency.
‘Blessed are the poor in Spirit’ – this is a fundamental statement it is dealing with our spirit, the unseen, not what we are like on the outside. The world very concerned about externals, it’s not enough to be rich, have the looks, have the car, have the reputation,
It is not referring to material poverty, some have written it ‘blessed in spirit are the poor’. The Bible never teaches that poverty in itself is a good thing and likewise poverty does not guarantee spirituality.
The characteristic is the result of us seeing ourselves as God sees us. It is the result of God’s spirit at work in our spirit when we realise what true poverty is. When we can no longer deny the state of our lives. The gospel has to tear down before it can build up.
When David sinned before God with Bathsheba, he later repented realising that sin had not only got into his spirit but with his walk with God.
His prayer was Psalm 51:10 ‘renew a right spirit in me.’ – perhaps that’s a good place for us to start.