The following article is an excerpt from "A Study of the Teachings of Jesus Christ"
by Joseph F. Harwood.
The book may be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the “Download” button below.
The Sermon on the Mount is recorded in Matthew 5:1-7:29. Jesus begins His teaching in this passage with His what is known as “The Beatitudes”. Beginning in Matthew 5:3, we read:
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 gentle, 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 have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12).
In His declarations of blessedness given in the beatitudes, Jesus revealed that we as God’s children will know and experience what it is like to be poor in spirit, even though the kingdom of Heaven is ours. We will know what it is like to mourn and to be partakers with the Him, the Man of Sorrows (John 16:20-22, Isaiah 53:3), and yet we are assured that the time will come for us when we will be comforted. We will also be brought to a position of meekness or humility as God works in our lives to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29, Hebrews 2:10-11), and yet the time will come for us when we will inherit the earth.
As Jesus continued, He taught that we will hunger and thirst for righteousness as we find ourselves surrounded by unrighteousness in a wicked world (Psalm 42:2, 63:1, 143:6). However, we are assured that the time will come for us when we will be filled, and we will hunger and thirst no more (Revelation 7:16-17).
We will also be called upon to sacrifice something of what we have and could have kept for ourselves, in order to be merciful to someone else in need. The love of Christ will be manifested in the life of every believer, and this love will motivate us, and even compel us, to show mercy to others (Matthew 25:31-46, John 13:34-35, 1 John 3:11-20). Our faith in Christ will be shown to be a genuine faith by love manifesting itself through acts of mercy. Jesus taught that in return for the mercy that we show to others in their time of need, we will receive the mercy of God in our own times of trouble, and eternal reward and blessing in Heaven.
Jesus also taught that we will know something of what it is like to be pure in heart. As those who have been called to faith in His Son, God has given us a heart to obey Him and keep His commandments. (John 14:23-24).
We will also know and experience something of what it is like to be peacemakers among those who are self-willed. As believers, God has ordained that the life of the Prince of Peace will be manifested through our lives lived here on the earth (Isaiah 9:6-7, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12).
Jesus concluded His teaching in this passage by saying that we as His people will also know in some measure what it is like to be persecuted. We will be excluded, insulted, and falsely accused because of who we are, believers in Christ (1 Timothy 3:12).
In His teaching in the Beatitudes, Jesus identified attributes or experiences that will be manifested in the lives of those who are indeed the children of God. Each of these experiences is a reflection of the suffering and sacrifice that Jesus endured, and each of these brings the promise of God’s eternal blessing (John 12:24-26, Romans 8:17).