Matthew 5:1-2 “Now seeing the crowds, He went up on a mountain. And when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He began speaking and taught them, saying…”
We use this hashtag all the time. New shoes? Hashtag blessed. New boyfriend? Hashtag blessed. Bought a homeless man McDonalds? Hashtag blessed. And we are blessed I suppose, in the worldly use of the term. But what I’ve read in the famous passage of Matthew 5, there is a difference between our definition of “blessed” and God’s definition of “blessed”. A big difference. Actually, it’s opposites. Matthew 5:1-2 “Now seeing the crowds, He went up on a mountain. And when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He began speaking and taught them, saying…”
Hi, I’m #blessed.
Jesus saw the crowds. He wasn’t oblivious or indifferent towards the multitude following Him - but neither was He oblivious or indifferent to their motives (at least the motives of many of them). They had heard the rumours, some had even seen a miracle, and they were ready to see more, experience more. To be entertained. Many were there to see this phenomenon called Jesus and what will He do next?!
But He wasn’t put off by their curiosity. He used it. He had work to do! Words to say that would last eternally. So He went up the mountain and sat down.
You know how you can be standing in a crowd (think way back… like pre-Covid) and feel utterly alone. Well, He wasn’t alone. The verse says “His disciples came to Him”. His travel companions, His devoted crew, His closest friends, came to Him. “And He began speaking and taught them, saying…”
Wait, who is Jesus talking to?
I believe the text suggests His true followers, the disciples. But was it meant for His inner circle alone? No, there was plenty of people within earshot. Bishop Gore (Yes, that is his real name) said “The sermon on the Mount was spoken in the ear of the church, and overheard by the world.”
He was going to use His true followers to influence society, spread the Good News far and wide, and correct false teachings as He established the Church. These were His guys. He was going to use them to reach that same crowd. So He needed them to know exactly what this Christian thing was going to be all about. Cue Jesus’ manifesto: The Sermon on the Mount.
So, am I #blessed too?
But Christ’s redemption, His saving grace isn’t exclusive to them. It was never meant as secret knowledge. It was and is for everyone. He said that “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17) That is why He came. But why? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
He knew that the best way to reach the spiritually sick (or rather the spiritually dead) long-term was through His posse. They started the thing we go to on Sundays. They started it! Isn’t that crazy?! His plan is stretching over millennia! It’s like He knows what He is doing or something…And so He preached the Beatitudes to believers for unbelievers.
It says in Chapter 7 verse 28 “When Jesus finished these sayings, the people were astonished at His teaching”. The crowd’s collective mind exploded, so to speak. They were amazed and felt pounded, bowled over, by Jesus’ Words. So should we be.
If you are a believer you could spend the rest of your days digging deeper, finding more and applying these paradigm-shifting, life-changing Words of Your Saviour. As you should!
If you are an unbeliever, you might have heard of the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, or seen a quote from it on a coffee mug. Maybe you even pause to think “Whoa! That's deep.” But mostly you probably found it confounding, like the crowd that day. But know that the very reason He walked up the mountain that day, the reason He sat down, the very reason He preached it (and practiced it up until His last breath, and then forevermore) was because the God that made you and sent Him, loves you and wants to teach you what the real definition of #blessed is. Will you let Him?