We cannot study the Beatitudes without analyzing the Sermon of the Mountain. Even if it is superficially, we need to understand the context for those teachings.
In our last meditation we started learning about the teacher of the sermon. Today we will learn about the audience and the teaching.
There are two audiences in this sermon:
The multitude – Those who would like to know more about the teachings of this new rabbi. They can accept and obey or not. They are there just to hear without the responsibility to obey.
The disciples – Those who were called to be part of this New Kingdom
and needed to learn its rules. The disciples on the other hand were called personally by Jesus. They were there to learn and be challenged to practice those teachings.
The Teaching – Counterculture
This sermon and teachings are totally countercultural. Jesus in this sermon is bringing something totally different for that culture, and not only for that but for ours too.
This sermon is countercultural because it goes against everything that our culture teaches us. This means not only our culture, but also our churches. Jesus is proposing a change in our lifestyle so dramatic that some people have a hard time to believe that it is possible to obey it.
The people in His Kingdom is characterized as being:
Yearning for righteousness
Pure in heart
In the eyes of the world these are marks of losers – The world says:
Stand up for yourself
Be proud of yourself
These are the traits of the world’s people and the world’s kingdoms. We learn day in and day out that those traits are normal and should be sought by our kids and ourselves.
We learned, and grew up learning, and teach our children that we are the center of the universe, we are the most important person in the whole world, and everything and everybody is out there to serve us.
Jesus in this sermon is telling us that this is not right. In His kingdom this should not happen.
One of the main objectives of this sermon is to bring everyone to these conclusions:
I cannot be that! – That is the first conclusion that we come to when we read this Sermon. We realize that we cannot be that kind of person by ourselves. It is just impossible.
I cannot do that! – That is the second conclusion. We cannot do those things. They are way beyond our abilities and capacities. We just cannot do it.
I need help! – And finally, we realize that we cannot be or do without the help of God. This kind of life that Jesus is proposing can only be lived with the power and help from God.
Inside changes bring outside changes – The changes that Jesus proposed should take place inside of us before they come outside. Today we want to have external transformation without having the internal one first. This sermon tells us that there is no external transformation without the transformation that is operated inside of our hearts by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Have a blessed week,