I read once that many scholars considered the Sermon on the Mount the Manifesto of God’s Kingdom. A Manifesto is a “statement declaring the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer publicly” Therefore, the Sermon on the Mount is considered the sets of principles, intentions, and motives of God’s Kingdom. This Sermon is for the New Testament what the Ten Commandments are for the Old Testament.
Jesus begins his sermon with the word “blessed.” The word “Blessed” comes to us from the Greek word “Makarios”, which can be translated as “happy” or “blessed.” Makarios is someone to whom “God extends his benefits.” Jesus begins his sermon to his disciples and to the multitudes who followed, who were a bunch of nobodies, fishermen, sick, those considered a low-class people blessing them. He begins bringing a message of hope. What we see from the beginning of Jesus’ preaching is that God blesses what the world despises. That God sees people and their condition in a different way.
Jesus said, blessed are the “poor in spirit.” The poor in spirit are simply those who confess their need for God. To be poor in spirit is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty, our spiritual bankruptcy before God, our complete lack of spiritual resources, our total dependence on God.
Jesus also blessed those who “mourn.” There is a paradox here because if we are blessed, then why do we mourn? And if we are mourning, how can we be blessed? It does not make any sense to us.
Isaiah 61:2-3 said, “the Spirit of God has anointed me “to comfort all who mourn … to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Jesus quoted this part of Isaiah when he was in the synagogue in Galilee. Those who mourn will receive comfort from God Himself.
Jesus admires the “meek, the humble,” while the world mocks them. But with Jesus, those who are meek, humble will inherit the earth.
Jesus also blessed those who are “hungry and thirsty for righteousness.” Those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness are those who long for God’s will and God’s ways. Those who pray like Jesus, “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” even if I do not like it or disagree with it.
Then He blessed the “merciful,” and this blessing is reflexive: They receive what they gave, “mercy”. Then, Jesus continues His blessings with the peacemakers and those who suffer for righteousness.
I said before that the word “Makarios” could be translated as “happy,” therefore, we can conclude that one of the principles of God is that He wants us to be happy, that we were created to be happy, to be blessed. Notice that Jesus did not say, you ought to be meek first, or you should be merciful first to be happy. What Jesus is saying is, “You who have responded to my call with faith and obedience; you who trust Me are blessed. You who are poor in spirit and meek as a response to my teaching, you are blessed. You who are peacemakers as a response to my love, are blessed. You who are persecuted because of me, are blessed because you are mine, and I can transform your condition in a blessing. Your situation, however bad it may be, I can turn it around. Trust in me, believe in me.
To me is amazing to know that when we participate in the fellowship of Jesus, even when we are persecuted, even when we are considered victims because of our condition, we have the choice of not to live with a victim’s mentality, but with a blessed mentality. As someone said, those who follow Jesus “are no longer victims; they are Kingdom people.” The Sermon on the Mount is a reminder that we, God’s Children are under His wings, under His shadow; and He can transform an affliction into an opportunity to see His power; He can transform an affliction into a miracle and into a blessing, because He does not see our condition as this world does. He sees us and our situation with His love and power, and His unlimited resources are always available to us. The Sermon on the Mount is a reminder that God can and is willing to turn our mourning into dancing. And with that confidence, let us prepare to come to