Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he opened his mouth and taught them. Matthew 5:1-2
Jesus withdrew from the crowd, went up on the mountain by himself, and was joined by his disciples. He then decided to teach them the beatitudes.
Each one was deep and weighty. Humanly speaking, His sermon could have benefited the crowd he left behind to possibly reshape the culture but instead, Jesus chose to share it with a few. Some messages aren’t for everyone.
The beatitudes were a collection of kingdom principles so difficult that only the ears of true disciples could understand them. A group of religious leaders wouldn’t have grasped them. The spiritual posture of each beatitude could only be understood by taking an intimate look at the character of Jesus. It would require relationship. I suspect that is why He preached it to the ones who loved Him! True spiritual understanding is theology learned through intimacy with the Divine.
I have heard some anointed messages in my lifetime. By earthly definition, they weren’t necessarily brilliant, insightful, or clever. Something otherworldly was happening. From the time the speaker opened his mouth, my heart was burning. As truths poured out in quick succession, I was too stunned to take notes. The message went to so deep a place that I couldn’t have explained to anyone what I was hearing. My body felt heavy under the warm hand of God and I just prayed someone had recorded it.
Such is the impact of reading the beatitudes. As I read each one slowly, I am stunned by Jesus’ words. I discover that each one is too hard for me to get my head around. They are far outside any human maturity level. There is no mastering them. And why would Jesus give a sermon if it were impossible for His disciples to apply it?
The point is to show each of us that righteousness is humanly impossible. The beatitudes hold up a mirror to His perfection and we see our fatally flawed reflection. Each one describes Jesus and we recognize our need for a Savior. Without the cross, we are unable to defeat sin but with the forgiveness of His shed bled, followed by a personal Pentecost, we are able to live as Jesus lived.
The beatitudes are being lived out today through every child of God who, daily, dies to himself and lives by the power of the Spirit.
I get it. I can’t churn out true righteousness. I can do things that look righteous but my heart is still wicked. Only You can change my heart and then live through me. Amen