The Savior’s Sermon (Part 1)
Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righeousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”Matthew 5:1–12
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Blessed are you… Jesus uses these words to begin the very well-known passage known as the Sermon on the Mount. This well-known section of Scripture is the longest sermon in the Bible. You might say that this is an important part of Christ’s ministry, and you’d be right! In fact, Jesus even made sure to go up onto a mountain before giving His sermon. In this culture, mountains were common places for significant events.
To start off this significant sermon, Jesus first blesses His hearers nine times. Many people tend to look at these blessings, called the beatitudes, as moral and ethical demands for the Christian life. You may look at the beatitudes as a list that you have trouble living up to, and reasonably so! Realistically speaking, we are not always meek, pure in heart, or merciful. How then can we read these words of Jesus and look beyond our shortcomings to see His blessings?
Fortunately, Jesus does not speak the beatitudes as demands. Rather, He speaks these things as an explanation of the blessings that await the people of God especially in the new heaven and the new earth and an acknowledgement of what was in store for their lives before that time comes. For example, we know that as Christians, we do face times when we must mourn, and yet Jesus says that we are blessed, because those who mourn “shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). As Christians, we hunger and thirst for righteousness, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we show mercy and forgiveness in response to the forgiveness that we have received in Christ Jesus. We are called to be peacemakers and live by faith in righteousness, and because of this we will almost certainly by persecuted in some way, shape, or form.
We undoubtedly face hardships and temptations throughout our lives and in our vocations as educators as well. Yes, the mission to teach and guide the children of God will always have its trials. We may not feel blessed when we face challenges both inside and outside of the classroom, but Christ’s promises to us in the Sermon on the Mount ring true! My prayer is that, as you go about the school day and its twists and turns, you are reminded of God’s grace and goodness. Remember that there are often obstacles in our lives and our vocations, but our Father in heaven knows every obstacle. In fact, He demolished our biggest obstacle, our sin, by sending His Son to the cross for us. God has made the reward great in heaven for all those who repent and trust in Christ alone for their righteousness. Because of this, we are truly blessed.
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