I decided every other week I would include a series I’ve been working on covering the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.
This week memorize
“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:”
I realize that may seem like an odd place to stop but I think we will see enough going on in these first two verses that once we actually start the “Sermon on the Mount” (from now on SM) we will be glad we chose bite size chunks.
I will try not to be too lengthy but just give us enough to chew on. I know in the last week or so I’ve been looking through this I’ve been blessed a ton already.
To set the stage it’s always important to understand the context. Previously 4:23-25 declared that “He was preaching throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease” following this his fame spread throughout all Syria and great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and from Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. His message was proclaiming that the kingdom of God had come and this message was contrary to the messages that were being proclaimed in the synagogues, one of external ritual. We know that Jesus would be confronting a very religious society. The Pharisees to say the least, were bound to tradition and legalism, the Sadducees were the aristocrats, controlling the Sanhedrin and compromising with Rome, The Essenes idea of religion was a separation from the world and finally the Zealots all favored political overthrow. One thing they all had in common was external conformation rather than internal transformation. This would define the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.
One of the reasons we know Jesus was not just about to give the requirements for entering the Kingdom, but rather what it meant to be in the Kingdom was because in Matt. 4:17 and 23 He switched from “preach” (Kerusso) to “teach” (didasko) in 5:2.
The language in verse 1 “he went up on the mountain” is exactly like Ex 19:3 speaking of Moses ascent. This is significant because remember just like we learned in the book of Hebrews (for those who attend Grace), the author assumes we know the background to his message. In this case when the Holy Spirit prompted Matthew to quote Ex19:3, He was declaring much more than we realize. As Quarles was quick to point out (p23) to the Jews, Moses was Redeemer, Deliverer and Savior. His point was the real Redeemer, Deliverer and Savior has shown up and you would not be delivered from Pharaoh, you would be delivered from your bondage to sin.
A couple other side notes as the commentators have elaborated on is the SM is not a call to repentance, but is a description of the expression and evidences of true repentance. If you are looking at the beatitudes or even the whole of the sermon, as a list to do, you’ve missed the point. This is a function of being, not doing. Only the grace of God can cause us to be poor in spirit. These are not external conformations but only a result of an internal transformation. We are partakers of His divine nature (2Pet 1:4) only by being born again and this is by His grace alone, received by faith alone.
I’m really looking forward to this adventure and I’m convinced my and your relationships with the LORD will be enhanced in every way. Thanks in advance for all your hard work. For those in the memory series as I’ll explain next week from last weeks verse, the pattern the Lord has given us for godliness is based on discipline. To discipline ourselves to godliness takes hard work. The bonus is…we are the benefactors of the hard work.
Col 1:28-29 Alan