Johan Smulders has a . B.A, B.ED and M.A in Education, Theology and Counselling. Works as an evangelist and counsellor.
The Teachings of Jesus: Sermon on the Mount. Number 2
In a world where power, prestige, wealth and position were of utmost importance, came the carpenter’s son from Nazareth proclaiming a completely different set of values. Instead of greed came sacrifice; instead of pride came humility; instead of wealth came giving; instead of looking after self, came compassion for others. No wonder the religious leaders of his time wanted to put him to death, but the ordinary people were moved to come and listen to this message that resonated in their hearts and souls.
Jesus took his disciples up onto a mountain and gave them a new teaching. Luke in his gospel, places the teaching on a plain where “a large crowd of his disciples” were and also a “great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon”. (Luke 6:17. NIV - used with permission).These teachings were obviously taught at different times and in different settings, but everywhere the impact must have been the same. Some accepted the teachings while others did not. When some of Jesus’ teaching became too difficult, John in his gospel records that, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
As the Sermon on the Mount continues with what is commonly known as the beatitudes, Jesus says: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth and blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:5, 6). Here Jesus is emphasising the type of person who realizes that he or she needs help from God. Meekness is not weakness. One translation uses the word humble, and this shows the meaning of the Greek word better. Jesus is often portrayed as meek and mild, but a careful study of his life presents a different picture. From the young boy asking difficult questions in the temple, to the angry Jesus driving out the money changers in the same temple, and the fearless Jesus standing before Pilate, a different picture emerges. As Jesus faced his coming arrest and death on the cross, he prayed: “not my will but your will be done!” Pride comes before the fall, the popular saying goes, but there is no place for pride in the Christian life, because God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have done it all. The follower of Jesus must lay aside the worldly attitude that proclaims: “I can do it on my own!”
Jesus spoke and was heard in his time by people who had “a hunger and thirst for righteousness”. The same condition exists today. Believers must first empty their hearts of pride and attitudes that proclaims: “I need nothing in this life from anyone”. Rather there needs to be in their hearts the need to seek a better way. Only a heart that empties itself can be filled with the promises of God. In Revelation, right at the end of the book, John records; “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say. ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17)
In Acts 2:37 the people on the day of Pentecost cry out: “what must we do?” This question indicates a desperation and need. Peter answers them; “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
As we look at Luke’s account of the beatitudes is not exactly the same as that recorded by Matthew. This tells us that these sayings were not a kind of recitation that the followers of Jesus learned but rather an important and integral series of teachings that made up the heart of the teachings of Jesus.
It is also interesting to note that Matthew mentions 10 Beatitudes. The first four refer to the attitude that a person must have towards God. The next three deal with the actions that a believer needs to take; that is to be merciful, to have a pure heart and to be a peace maker. The last two speak about what a person who becomes a follower of Christ will have to endure from others. He or she will be persecuted, lied about and insulted. Finally the blessing is added that there awaits the promise of a great reward in heaven that will be received by those who are faithful. While the challenge of living a Christian life will be an ongoing test of the believer’s faithfulness, it will all be worthwhile eventually. At the same time there are many blessings to be enjoyed along the way!
References: NIV Translation
Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, Copyright 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
The "NIV" and "New International Version" trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
Johan Smulders (author) from East London, South Africa on May 05, 2021:
Thanks for your encouragement. Please share it! We need to get the message out as often as possible.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 05, 2021:
The life of Jesus is our model. Jesus is what he preachs-the word of the living God. No human being can copy Jesus at once. It's a long journey and a life lmg process. A step taken daily is home. May God have mercy upon us in this transist process to attain life, holiness and righteousness, mercy, grace, and all the fruits of the Spirit. This article is soul inspiring.and inspirational. As many in the days of Jesus hungered after righteousness, may they found your article online. Much thanks.