The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12)
It is not what you strive to do but what you are in Christ that gives you joy. The Beatitudes give us a picture of Christ. They give a picture of Jesus himself humbly and faithfully describing a true Christian. Since every country have laws and very kingdom have laws, the Kingdom of God have got laws as well. These laws help us to live and navigate through the Kingdom. The root of these laws is kindness and love. The outline on the sermon on the Mount should be lived and practiced for a joyful life. If we live by these rules, our personal relationships will improve, our emotional wounds will be healed, quarrels between nations will be easily resolved and the world will be a good place to live.
I believe Matthew 5:20 is the key verse to this important sermon, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The righteousness that Jesus describes is true and vital and it begin from within the heart. Jesus set the constitution of the Kingdom in this sermon. He set forth the condition of entrance, its laws, its privileges, and its rewards.
The Pharisees were concerned about the minute details of conduct, but they neglected the major matter of character. Jesus gave this message to individual believers and not to the unsaved world at large. Being a good teacher, he did not begin this sermon with negative criticism of the scribes and Pharisees. He began with a positive emphasis on righteous character and the blessing that it brings to the believer’s life. The Pharisees taught that righteousness was external thing. Jesus taught Christian character the flows from within was the factor to righteousness instead of the fasting, prayers and giving that was done in public. He first words as he spoke was “Blessed”. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:2; “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men.” Beatitudes described the attitudes that we ought to have in our lives today toward ourselves, our sins, others, the Lord and towards the world. Our attitude will bring many people to Christ when they see us because we are light of the world and the salt of the earth.
After the crowd heard about the kind of person and character that he blesses (Matthew 5:1-16), they wandered how his teaching related to what they had been taught all their lifetime by Pharisee and Scribes. The teaching that Jesus had delivered was a simple standard of Kingdom living. They saw that they did not have that character to attract the blessing described by Jesus. Jesus started teaching them that Moses had certainly taught them standards of Holy living. He started to teach the Pharisees that they were supposed to be exemplary.
Jesus described His attitude to the law. He had come to fulfill the law and not to destroy it. The had come to live practical life, a holy and Kingdom life which was profitable (blessing) to human life and beings. He was teaching Pharisees and Scribes the kingdom mentality and attitude that God desired, and they were seeking was brought by Moses in the law. The law sought them to holy and practical. It is true that our attitude will determine altitude. The Pharisees attitude was not good. Jesus message was for us to be both exemplary in doing and teaching the law. That is the attitude that Moses by the law seeking. It is amazingly easy to follow a practical teacher who has an incredibly good attitude. Any reforms that starts from the outside and works inwards is beginning on the wrong place. Christ starts from inside and works outward. People should do as we do.