Read Matthew 5:1-12
Hi and welcome to this week’s Reedy's Devotional Moments. We have just launched the New Testament in 90 Days Challenge. Have you got on board yet? If not, click here for the link. Today’s chapters are from Matthew 4, 5 and 6. When you read chapters 5 and 6 then chapter 7 on the next day, they form part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Several respected authors speak highly of this teaching of Jesus Christ. Michael Green says that they are “a Christian Manifesto of the Kingdom”. William Barclay says that “in the Sermon on the Mount we have the essence of the teaching of Jesus”.
The Sermon on the Mount is a wonderful refresher course encouraging us to get back on track, to do the things and the act the way that Jesus wants us to. It reminds us of what life could be like in the Kingdom of God if we all follow the teachings of Jesus.
In the opening verses Matthew sets the scene: “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began
to teach them” (Matthew 5:1-2 NIV). Most scholars believe the “mountainside” to be the hills alongside of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, like Rabbis of those days, sat down and began to teach. In verse 2 in the King James Version it reads, “And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying” (Matthew 5:2 KJV). This phrase he opened his mouth is not simply a roundabout way of saying “he said”. In the original language what Jesus was about to teach was of utmost importance but one which comes from the heart.
Depending on what version of the bible you have, each of these eight beatitudes in chapter 5 commences with the phrase “Blessed are the…”, “Blessed are the…”, “Blessed are the…”. This word blessed is a very special word. It is the Greek word makarios. The meaning of makarios can be seen from one particular usage of it. The Greeks always called Island of Cyprus makaria, which means The Happy Isle, and they did so because they
believed that Cyprus was so lovely, so rich, and so fertile an island that a person would never need to go beyond its coastline to find the perfectly happy life.
And when we think of the Kingdom of God in the future sense, we think of such a beautiful place – why would we need to go anywhere else? Makarios contains the root hap which means happiness. But it’s deeper than just happiness – it’s like being in a fortunate state for those in the kingdom of God. Being "blessed" by God means experiencing hope, peace, and joy despite life’s circumstances.
When you come to chapters 5, 6 and 7, keep these thoughts in mind that Jesus is teaching us values that are very close to his heart that for those who practice them will experience a deep peace and joy.
Please pray with me. Dear God, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Help me to read Your word throughout this 90-Days challenge and beyond. Grant be a teachable heart and wisdom and strength in how to apply Your Word. Thank you that I am so blessed being in your kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen.