Open Matthew 5:3-12.
You need a sense of where you’re going, who you’re becoming.
Haydn Nelson recently painted the picture of our church as the Riverview Manifesto: “I see a church …”
The Sermon on the Mount was something like that: Jesus’ kingdom manifesto. The king announced his vision, “I see a kingdom …”
When he first spoke these words, they were a radical reversal of the power base on earth. They still are. Jesus’ vision of earth coming back under heaven’s governance gives meaning to who we are and what we do.
Paraphrased from Matthew 5:3-12:
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to people who’ve been crushed, for heaven’s governance elevates them.
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to grieving people, for they receive comfort.
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to powerless people, as the earth is placed into their care.
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to the people who’ve yearned for justice, as they are finally satisfied.
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to those who show compassion, as they too are treated with compassion.
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to people with pure motives, for nothing clouds their vision of their sovereign.
- I see a kingdom where joy comes to those who make peace, for they are recognized as the offspring of our divine ruler.
- I see a kingdom where joy permeates those who are treated badly for doing right, for
heaven’s reign is expressed in them.
- I see a kingdom where you have the joy of being maligned and mistreated and maliciously slandered because you acknowledge me as your king. Dance for joy and be exuberant about it: you’ll be rewarded with what heaven has prepared for you. You’re part of the grand restoration of God’s reign, just like the prophets who were mistreated before you.
What others are saying
R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007), 159:
The discourse [Sermon on the Mount] begins with a manifesto on the values of the kingdom of heaven which is carefully constructed for easy memorization and maximum impact. The sharply paradoxical character of most of its recommendations reverses the conventional values of society—it commends those whom the world in general would dismiss as losers and wimps; compare the presentation of disciples as “little ones” in 10:42; 18:6, 10, 14; 25:40 (cf. the “little children” of 11:25). The beatitudes thus call on those who would be God’s people to stand out as different from those around them, and promise them that those who do so will not ultimately be the losers. While the promises in vv. 4–9 do not specifically mention God as subject, the implication of the passive verbs is that it is God who will comfort, give the inheritance, satisfy, show mercy and call them his children.
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