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Matthew 5:1-6

“To read the Sermon on the Mount is to discover what it means to be Jesus’ disciples; to read it with faith is to receive power to be Jesus’ disciples.” – Frederick Dale Bruner

Lesson Focus

In the Beatitudes, we are first given God’s grace amid our brokenness. Then we are called to respond to the grace we have been given by sharing it with others. If we are faithful, we will be persecuted.

Lesson Outcomes

Through this lesson, students should:

  1. Understand that God gives us grace while we are broken.

  2. Understand that we are called to respond to the grace we have received by giving it to others.

  3. Faithfulness to God’s kingdom will bring about persecution.

Catching up on the Story

Matthew has prepared us for what we hear in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. While last week’s passage, Matthew 4:12-23, is not a part of the Sermon, it is indispensable to understanding what will follow.

In that passage, Matthew announces that Jesus is the light that has dawned over a dark world. This light comes and exposes for us the world’s sins and the way that God would have it work.

The image we used was that of a dark room. You get used to a dark room, indeed, you may even be able to navigate it, but you cannot fully perceive it. Jesus, as the light, reveals the world for how it is and should be.

Then, Jesus issues two consecutive calls. The first call is to repentance, a turning from the things that distract us from participating in God’s kingdom. This is our call to salvation. The second call is a call to move forward in faithful obedience. The call to follow Jesus is a call to a life of constant learning at the feet of the master teacher. This is our call to discipleship, the slow process of learning to understand and practice what we can now see because Jesus the light has come.

Matthew also clarifies for us that our obedient response will cost us something. The two sets of brothers who respond leave everything they have behind, including their family. This kind of obedient following will be hard for some. The cost is high, but the reward is great. We get to participate in what God intends to do in our world, healing the sick, curing diseases, and welcoming the outcast (the demoniacs, epileptics, and the paralytics (4:24)) back into society.

Our learning of what it means to be a follower of Jesus has just begun. What follows in the Sermon on the Mount will be a primer on the specifics of kingdom living. We start with the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessings on the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.