As a fellow Christian I am honoured to speak before you all in this beautiful day created by our Lord. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to Hiroishi Sensei and all of you gathered here today to worship together our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
Today I wish to share the Gospel of Mathew Chapter 5 verses 1- 12.
When He saw 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 gentile , 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 obtain 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 righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when men insult 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 men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This section of the "Beatitudes" is one of the most loved portions of the Gospel. It forms the beginning of what has come to be known as the "Sermon on the Mount" which is recorded in Mathew 5-7. The preaching of this sermon may have come a little later in the chronology of the life of Christ; but Matthew placed it here at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry because it forms such a grand proclamation of the kingdom.
Jesus saw the crowds coming to Him, so He went up on a mountainside and sat down, the well-known posture of the teacher. The traditional location of this "mount" is the low hills behind the region of Capernaum and the other fishing villages on the shore. His disciples came to Him, and so Jesus began to teach them. This is the first and longest message of Jesus that we have in the gospel. Jesus had been announcing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and He had been calling for people to repent. Now, in what has been described as the manifesto of His kingdom, Jesus unveils the foundations and character of life in that kingdom. Here He teaches the ethical guidelines for life in His kingdom; and the guidelines point to the quality of righteousness that characterizes life in the kingdom, now in part, but fully in the future.
Jesus spoke to all the people of the true will of God, the righteousness that they must all exhibit if they repent and enter His kingdom, but which the disciples had already begun to perform. So the entire sermon is directed to all. The sermon begins with the beatitudes. These qualities give a picture of the character of the true people of God, those who are a part of his kingdom and have the full blessings of the kingdom to look forward to. Taken together they give the picture of the perfect disciple of Christ who is the heir of the promises. Jesus does not here tell people how to become like this; that will come in subsequent teachings.
One of the most convincing descriptions of the meaning of the beatitudes at the beginning of this sermon is that they are planned echoes of Isaiah 61:1-3 .Mathew constantly shows how Jesus came in the light of the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies, and so this one would fit as well. So as we study the passage we will have to look at Isaiah’s prediction of what the Messiah and the Messianic kingdom will be like.
So here we have a series of proclamations without a narrative. The narrative introduction simply sets up the sermon; and the sermon begins with these proclamations. Each of the beatitudes is formally a declarative sentence; but each is implicitly hortatory, calling for a response.
Most summaries of the beatitudes say that there are eight of them--but you may observe nine "blesseds." The difference is that the last saying in the list is different: it does not say "blessed are they" but "blessed are you." Moreover, it seems to be a further clarification of the eighth one with specific application being made to the disciples.
In some ways the Lord’s declaration of "blessed" is a pledge of divine reward for the inner spiritual character of the righteous; in other ways it is His description of the spiritual attitude and state of people who are right with God.
So when Jesus says "blessed are they," He is not only describing them as being filled with an inner sense of joy and peace because they are right with God, but He is praising them for
People who are "poor in spirit" are those who are humble before God. They realize that they have nothing in this life that they can contribute to receiving the kingdom of heaven. They have afflicted their souls, meaning that they have humbled themselves and repented with deep contrition; and they have come to the king as helpless and hopeless sinners. There is no arrogance in them, no self-righteousness, no self-sufficiency. They are free from their own pretensions, and therefore they are free for God. Everyone who wishes to enter the kingdom must be "spiritually poor," for salvation is a gift from God.
Now we have a slightly different beatitude. In the last one the promise was that those who are poor in spirit have the kingdom. Here now the promise is for the future, for those who mourn will be comforted.
People mourn over any disaster or tribulation. And in times of mourning they look for hope. And most often in this world there is little hope.
They know that death does not have the final victory, for the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible. They know that the Messiah will turn all that away someday. And that hope brings them comfort. So the promise is that they will be comforted. They will be consoled above all when God wipes away all tears, and death will be no more, nor grief nor tribulation. As people face the sadness of life, they can do so with hope if they have mourned over sin--a clear sign of faith in the Savoir.
The meek may like the poor have no resources of their own; but then they may, for Moses was described as being meek and humble .But the meek do not exploit and oppress others; they are not given to vengeance and vendettas, they are not violent, and they do not try to seize power for their own ends. In short, they have emulated the nature of Jesus in their lives and learned from him. This does not mean that they are weak or ineffective in life. They may be gentle and humble, but they can and do champion the needs of the weak and the oppressed.
It is not simply describing those who are righteous, or who try to do good things. It is describing their passion in life--they hunger and thirst for it. Like the poor and the meek these people put their lives into the hand of God and hope for his help.
They are called blessed because they place showing mercy above their own rights; they take no hostile stand against people in need, but try to show kindness to others and heal wounds. It is not that they are merciful by nature, but because they have been shown mercy and live in constant dependence on the Lord. And because they understand mercy and show mercy to others, the word from God is that they shall obtain mercy. They learned to forgive others because they were constantly being forgiven; they learned to show mercy to others because they were being shown mercy every day. Our organization SEEDS working to fulfil it as a believer in Christ to extend our helping hand to the poor, needy, handicapped and socially outcastes in India.
It describes both an inner purity and a singleness of mind. The "heart" is used in the Bible for the will, the choices. And so to be pure in heart means that the decisions one makes, the desires one has, the thoughts and intentions of the will, are untarnished by sin, and that the will is determined to be pleasing to God. From the pure of heart come only good things, acts of love and mercy, desires for righteousness and justice, decisions that please God.
God is the God of peace; But in the human race, however, there is strife and conflict with little hope for peace and unity. The peace that God brings is not a cessation of hostilities, tolerance, or the readiness to give way. True peace that the world needs calls for a complete change of nature. It begins with reconciliation with God and extends to reconciliation with other people.
Those who are peacemakers are then first and foremost people who understand what true peace is. Their effort is to strive to establish a peace that embraces God’s provision of peace, so that people will be in harmony with one another because they are at peace with God. In other words, the true peacemakers are they who promote the kingdom of God. So the quality described here is one that is spiritual and not simply a political seeking of peace.
They do this by spreading the Gospel of peace to the world, and by promoting reconciliation within the household of faith as well. In short, they should be doing the work of the Messiah.
John the Baptist called for righteousness and went to an early death. And Jesus proclaimed all the right virtues but found opposition to his message because it called for them to enter his kingdom.
But the blessing stated here for those who suffer such persecution in this world is that their destiny will be a complete contrast to their present humiliation--theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And that, the disciples know, is something worth dying for.
Jesus went through all kind of sufferings in this world. Those who are passing through all kind of humiliation and sufferings for their faith in him are blessed. Today Christians are the most persecuting community in the world but Jesus assured that, it is a blessing , no revenge to the persecutors.
All the time the truth seekers were persecuted and tortured. Jesus guaranteed that the heaven rejoices with you and your place in the heaven like great prophets. Does not fear about the struggles in this world which is a short one, everlasting life reward your suffering.
God Bless You. Peace be with you.