Ep.1213: Is God Happy With My Attitude? (Part I)
Uncovering the life-directing principles in the Beatitudes of Jesus
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Theme Scripture: Matthew 5:1-2
Arguably, the most well-known sermon in the world is the Sermon on the Mount, delivered by Jesus over 2,000 years ago on a mountainside near the Lake of Gennesaret and Capernaum. It was his longest recorded sermon, covering important topics like loving your enemies, anger and murder, adultery and divorce, how to fast and laying up treasures in heaven. His audience was his disciples plus a curious crowd, attracted by his ability to perform wondrous miracles. The sermon began with several deceptively simple “blessed” statements called the Beatitudes. These statements are actually a profound foundation for all of Jesus’ teachings. They show us not only how to frame our view of life, they also show us how we are to treat those around us with godly grace.
Just who was Jesus talking to?
One of the key factors in understanding the Sermon on the Mount and its introductory Beatitudes is knowing who Jesus’ audience was. When we look at the scenario, we see Jesus sitting on a hillside surrounded by countless people who came to hear what he had to say. While it seems obvious that Jesus was talking directly to those masses, it is not the correct conclusion. The context before and after the Beatitudes were spoken clearly indicates that he was, in fact, directly addressing only his disciples.
This fact raises several relevant questions:
- Does this mean the Beatitudes don't apply to the average person?
- Why speak these things with so many people around if you aren't intending them to benefit?
To answer these, we make several observations: Jesus was wise. He always knew who was listening. He knew who he was specifically addressing and why. Throughout his ministry, he frequently focused on one segment of a group while intentionally allowing others to listen in. Why? He knew the principles of godly righteousness he always taught should be heard by all, even if they would not fully understand them.
The Beatitudes fit beautifully into this explanation.
Jesus DOES want all people to recognize, love and honor God. He wisely knows the vast majority who may listen are likely mere curiosity seekers. For them to be able to simply hear, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is a positive thing. It points to the all-important basis of personal humility as a way for God to deal with us and for us to be true disciples of Christ. While the full depth and meaning of these words escapes the casual listener, it does impact and change those who would truly follow Jesus.
Check out our January 17,2022 podcast, “Is God Happy with My Attitude?" (Part I) for more. We begin with defining the profound meaning of being “blessed” and then carefully examine each of the first three Beatitudes. We find so much more than a list of inspirational sayings. The seven teachings of Jesus are actually a lynchpin for a successful Christin life. Join us for Part I as we begin this journey into the mind and life of Jesus. This will help us to understand what our lives should look like. Part II picks up right where we left off, so don't miss this important 2-part series.