“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:” vss. 1-2
It’s no accident that Matthew has Jesus begin his ministry by speaking from a seated position on the top of a mountain. He wants his readers to think of Jesus as a rabbi, a new Moses, one who brings a radical reinterpretation of the old Sinaitic law. During this discourse, known now as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus touches on a broad range of topics and lays out clearly the rigorous standards of kingdom living. Given the context, it’s not strange that many readers regard the beatitudes, the introduction to the sermon, as a new set of commandments. But that’s not what they are! They are not new laws! On the contrary, they are a description of attributes that the followers of Jesus already possess. The disciples had them then and we have them now. We are the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure in heart, and because we are, the kingdom of God has come near. Because we are the peacemakers, the merciful, the persecuted…heaven has come to earth. As we practice kingdom living we will absorb the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount; its precepts will be written on our hearts and we will actually practice what we preach…and the whole world will take note…and all people will be blessed.
Thought for the Day: Which of the beatitudes can be seen in me?