The term Beatitudes means ‘The Blessings’ or ‘be- attitudes’, as in the attitudes we should live by or be. These character traits, when observed by others within an individual’s life, can clearly indicate a person who has been saved and is a disciple of Jesus. These are all traits that we should desire and work towards in our process of sanctification, in our becoming like Christ towards holiness.
Now we could just skip on ahead to the very first beatitude in Matthew 5: 3, but I don’t want us to miss out on the meat of scripture that we so often overlook in our personal time with The Lord. I want us to start off on the right foot of finding meaning in every word breathed out by God in His Word! Let’s read how this scene is set up for us:
“Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:” -Matthew 5:1-2
Don’t we just love a good cliff hanger? I can’t wait for us to dive into what Jesus teaches us in depth and in intimacy together! But for now, let’s set up this scene.
If we were to read the verse just before this new chapter, multitudes of people were documented to be following Jesus from all over the place (Matt. 4:25). They had heard Him preach and speak, they had witnessed Him heal the sick, they observed Him cast out demons; no wonder they followed Him! Jesus saw just how great the crowd was in its masses, and so He seized the opportunity to teach them one day. I think this is something we can take away from right from the start, that Jesus seized the moments where He had attention, authority, and opportunity to point people back to the way, truth, and life.
If we want to get a bit more exegetical here, Jesus made His way up the mountain they were on, sat down, and His disciples came to Him. What all does this mean?
Jesus made His way up the mountain that is commonly referred to as the Mount of Beatitudes, or the mountain where the Sermon on the Mount was given. If you were to take the time to dive into all of Matthew 5-7, you could get into the entire sermon He preached, but for now, we will focus on just the first portion. Customary to the culture of that time, teachers would normally sit as their disciples or audience listened to them. Here we see Jesus sit down before the masses in a position where they could all generally hear Him and msee Him, and then He opens His mouth to teach them.
With the platform He was given, both in location and in authority, He preached the ways of Heaven to this large crowd earnestly and with passion. Again, if you were to dive into the entirety of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we see that it is more than just good preaching, but it is Jesus giving us a clear and beautiful outline of how we are to live.
Now don’t get it twisted; this is not a message about salvation, because as the book of Ephesians gets into, we are saved by grace through faith and not our works (EPH. 2:8-9). However, living under these guidelines Jesus provides to us sets us up for a life of freedom, a life of joy, a life of assurance, and a life of morality. Faith is the root, and works are the fruit, and the mark of a true believer can be observed in the way they choose to live in obedience and accordance to the way, truth, and life set out by Jesus.
So what is it that we can observe from today’s quick read?
Firstly, we need to seize the opportunities of influence we have to open our mouths and teach people about Jesus. Maybe you have a large platform on social media, a position of leadership among your peers, or a younger sibling or child you look after.
Whatever size it is, whatever level of authority you have, you do have opportunity, so seize it like Jesus and use it to influence and teach the way, truth, and life to those who need to know, which is everyone. Don’t let those moments appear idle or pass you by because of fear. Instead, be confident in the Spirit that lives within you, and trust that as you step out in obedience to open your mouth, He is faithful to guide your tongue and teaching (Matt. 10:20). Let us do our part in pressing into Him intimately and knowing this truth for ourselves so that we may be better witnesses and teachers of the Word and Way.
Secondly, the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes we will be studying these next few days is meant to guide our lives. Don’t just let these next few days of studying God’s word pass by and only be used to fuel you with Biblical knowledge. Let these lessons draw you closer into God’s presence so that He may reveal why He desires you to live in such a way He maps out. Yes, we are to be doers of the word we are going to be taught, but we must also be receptive hearers who have hearts aligned to the objective of obedience.
Let’s Linger in this moment!
– Ask the Holy Spirit what it is that He wants to speak to you today. Maybe He wants to challenge you in areas, or highlight places where you can speak up and step out, teaching a lifestyle and living a lifestyle that is mapped out in Scripture.
– Journal what He is telling you. Write down the things that pop out to you, and put them into practice. He is faithful to speak, but we must be willing to incline our ears to what it is He wants to reveal to us. Document His faithfulness!
– Spend some time praying and in worship, opening up your heart to the Lord, and ask Him to speak and ready you for the coming days of teaching, application, and intimacy with Him.
Dig Deeper! Listen to: “Oh Blessed” by Stu Garrard
Read: Deuteronomy 28:1, Matthew 10:16-20