Once upon a time, I found an awesome book on the Beatitudes. I was in a pretty dark place in my life when I found this book and it helped me a lot. I am still trying to locate it in all my old writing stuff. If I do locate it I will find it on Amazon and give you a link to it.
After reading that book, I feel ill-equipped to do justice to Jesus’ sharing of the BE attitudes in His sermon on the mountain that day. BUT here we are anyway. I’m going to dive in and see where God takes us. I don’t know how long it will take us to get through this deep water but I plan on staying the course and going as slow, or fast, as He sees fit.
First thing I notice is that Matthew doesn’t break things down into: this happened, then this happened, then this happened. He lumps a LOT of time together into a few verses. Yesterday when Matthew talked about Jesus’ increasing fame, he didn’t put time qualifiers on it. So as we approach the mountain today I have no clue how many months have passed since Jesus started teaching. How many disciples were included in the statement “his disciples came to Him”?
I’m imagining it was a large crowd that gathered because “He went up on the mountain.” It doesn’t say he stepped up on a nearby hill. I’m curious why He went up. Was it to get a better place to speak to everyone from or to remove Himself from the mob so He could talk privately to His disciples?
I just did a quick scan to find where Jesus’ message quit sounding so personal that it could be given to His select few and ended up in Matthew 8. The last two verses on Matthew 7, verses 28 & 29, show me that He was sharing His very personal message with “the crowd” instead of only His disciples. I don’t think I realized before how intimate His teaching was, or how long this single teaching was until today. We are going to be spending a LOT of time on this mountain.
Jesus is about to deliver a HEAVY meal to all those gathered. This is going to be the “meat and potatoes” of His ministry message. He is essentially laying the foundation for all His other teachings in this one message. He knows this is going to take a while, so even He sets down and gets comfortable.
I didn’t plan to stick with one verse when I started out today but looking at how long the page is already I think this is the appropriate place to stop, for now. Jesus didn’t rush through this message and I don’t think He wants us to either.
Thank You Jesus that You took the time to sit down and lay out Your foundational truths to this large group of people and that You had Matthew record it in detail so we could hear it still today. Thank You for the intimacy with which You taught that day. The way You speak in this account, I can easily imagine myself sitting there at Your feet and You speaking directly to me. Thank You for including me in You little group. Please help me sit still and listen to everything You have to say. Help me receive it all with a quiet mind, an open heart and a teachable spirit. Help me keep my wiggles to a minimum.