Meditations: SOTM2 Matt 5:2
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:2-3 (ESV)
In the sharp parallel of the Lord’s opening words of the SOtM with Isaiah 61, the Lord is deliberately aiming to fulfil the old testament prophecy and thereby let the people know His purpose in preaching this SOtM:
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:1-4 (ESV)
The Lord came to preach the good news to the poor in spirit, and that news is the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven by the intimate Presence of the King in our hearts. He came to us – we who know our desperate need for Him (the poor) – to give us the good news that the Kingdom of heaven is here if we will allow the King to enter and reign in our hearts; to tell us the days of judgment and woe are past for the poor in spirit who trust only in the King… the year of the Lord’s favour has arrived – the year in which He binds up our sad and broken hearts and brings freedom to those captive to the devil’s schemes of addiction to destructive behaviors, bondage to sin, depression and hopelessness, suicidalness, sickness and every other form of demonic bondage. He came for us, His poor little ones. He came to bring the Shalom, wholeness, the freedom that comes from knowing Him and entering His Kingdom.
If we note when in the Lord’s ministry this sermon takes place, we can see He has no purpose for men other than to bring them into His Kingdom. This is the very beginning of the Lord’s ministry. He had just been baptised by John the baptist, endured the 40 day temptation in the wilderness, and then “returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:14), fulfilling the scripture which spoke of the One who would bring the Kingdom of God: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor”. Immediately after, he began these 3 cornerstone activities:
1) He went around preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17)
2) He called His disciples and said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (v19)
3) And “he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.” (v23)
The Lord Jesus was telling men His Kingdom had arrived, He was gathering disciples to call people into His Kingdom, and He was demonstrating the blessing of entering His Kingdom by healing “every disease and affliction”. There, at the outset of this ministry, we find the Sermon on the Mount. And with that context, we can see the purpose of the SOtM. He was beginning to train His disciples to call men into the Kingdom of God, by telling them what it is like when His Kingdom is manifest on the earth, in people’s hearts.
What we need to see is that His purpose is for us to escape the devil’s dark and destructive reign over our lives, and enter in and dwell in His Kingdom of light here on earth until His Kingdom comes in the fullness of all power when He comes again on the clouds of glory.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son
Col 1:13 (ESV)
How do we enter His Kingdom:
“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame”
Romans 10:9-11 (ESV)
Put another way:
“Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Acts 2:37-39 (ESV)
The benefits of being in His Kingdom come from entering into His Kingdom by becoming a “citizen” or subject of the King Jesus, defecting from the domain of darkness by repenting and coming to Jesus, believing He is the One Who saves. HE is the point. HE is the invitation. HE is the freedom. HE is the deliverance. HE is the peace and the wholeness.
Have you escaped the Kingdom of darkness? Have you let the King enter your heart and so entered the Kingdom of His dear Son where Jesus Himself will “bind up the brokenhearted”, bring “freedom to the trapped”, the season of “the Lord’s favor”, “beauty instead of ashes”, and “the oil of gladness instead of sadness”?
Original date of work: 5 Jan 2011
By: J Goldberg