The Sermon on the Mount begins in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, verses 1 through 11. Perhaps no portion of scripture is as well known as Jesus’ Great Sermon. It begins with the well-loved Beatitudes, which classically exemplify God’s inversion of the world’s values. In His kingdom or reign, those who are considered fortunate include the poor, sorrowing, pure, humble, righteous and merciful, the peacemakers and the persecuted. These are precisely those categories of people too many of us tend to despise and ostracize.
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto 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 they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.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 the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
The countercultural values would suggest that Jesus intended His followers to withdraw from the world and form separate communities. In Chapter 5, verses13 through 16, Matthew immediately belie any such notion. Matthew believes that disciples must be salt and light, arresting decay and providing illumination for a lost and dying world.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
This sounds like an interesting contradiction and one which is not readily answered in either the Gospel or the commentaries. Perhaps each Christian needs to draw his or her own conclusions as they continue to study the Sermon on the Mount and the Gospel of Matthew.
References: Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor and Holy Bible, King James Version
Columbia Prayer Chain
Monday, August 29
- Loretta M. in Cayce
- Garnet Aitchison
- Cherish and Anthony in Columbia
- Kody Oswald
- Tina Bailey
- Oliver Crawford
- Joy Cantrell in Shandon
- Edgar Maxwell
- Laura Lou Roamans
- Elizabeth Adams
- Rootie Pope in Leesville
- Gene Awtrey in Spring Valley
- John Conde
- Millie Husbands
- Clyde Ireland
- Sam King
- Bob Whiteside
- Chuck Witten
- Lindsay Cathcart
- Raven Tarpley
- The family of William R. Carson, Jr.
- The family of Carl Eugene “Buddy” Herring
- The family of Melvin Joe Couch
- All affected by hurricane Irene
- Mandy and all beloved pets
- Our president and congress
- All who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily as prayers are requested.
A discussion of today’s bible study is encouraged. If you would like to participate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations of scripture passages and, the more we share, the more we learn.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane In Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at in Columbia.
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