Beatitudes as Jesus’ Outline for the Sermon
Account Telos Xelot
I noticed some things about how the sermon on the mount starts:
1) Blessed/ μακαριοι are they is repeated 8 times followed with “theirs’ is”
2) Blessed/ μακαριοι are you in verse 11 marks a change
3) The first of the 8 “blessed are they” ends with “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
4) The last of the 8 “blessed are they” ends with “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
5) The first four of the 8 “blessed are they” are matched with negative images
a. Poor in spirit
d. Hunger and thirst for righteousness
6) The last four of the 8 “blessed are they” are matched with positive images
b. Pure in heart
d. Righteous (so much so that they are persecuted for it)
7) The first 4 “blessed” are a set
8) The second 4 ‘blessed’ are a set
9) The blessed of verse 11 begins an explanation of how being persecuted for righteousness is blessed
10) Conclusion= the beatitudes of 5:3-10 are the outline for Jesus’ sermon. Each beatitude gets explained, beginning with the last one first.
The reason this matters is that it can help explain what to look for. What I end up with is the following outline:
Your life can be blessed in ways which may surprise you.
Persecuted for Righteousness, peacemakers, pure in heart, merciful; these are descriptions of someone growing in how to follow God’s lead.
Poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hunger and thirsting for righteousness; these are descriptions of the disciplines followed to grow in how to follow God’s lead.
These two sets actually pair up.
Poor in spirit describes the discipline of wise treasuring, even if it means you will be persecuted for righteousness. Still, yours will be the rule of God (Kingdom of Heaven).
Mourning is fasting as a way of breaking habits, particularly of conflict, and instead learning how to be a peacemaker. You will be comforted as you begin to look like your Heavenly Father.
Meek is how we pray to God for our needs in this world, and in doing so we learn to grow beyond mixed motives to pure motives.
Hunger and thirsting for righteousness is giving for others, being merciful like your Father.
The rest of the sermon deals with 3 basic objections: physical concerns, relational concerns, spiritual concerns. These correspond to the 3 temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4. It is all one package of thought. The BIG idea is that the temptation to trust the creation instead of the creator for pressing needs can be resisted. The better option, the blessed option, is to grow up into the habits of thinking and acting from reliance on God as King.
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