Perspectives on the sermon on the mount

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The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 is a classical reference for all denominations and religious groups that believe in Yeshua (Jesus). It is a hint (“remez” in Hebrew) and ideal for all generations of His followers. The nine “beatitudes” in this chapter each begin with the word “Blessed.”

Yeshua said “Blessed” nine times referring to nine human “conditions,” yet these seem not to be permanent. They seem not to be absolutely constant in one’s behavior. “Blessed are those who mourn…” Yet a grieving person will over time be comforted. “Blessed are the meek…” Yet you may be meek when you feel humiliated or ashamed, but not afterwards. “Blessed are the merciful…” Yet, you may be merciful today helping everyone around you, but tomorrow, after conflict with someone, you may temporarily become selfish, irritable and sarcastic. So how can Yeshua speak of the rewards of these conditions: “Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…they shall be filled…comforted…called the sons of God?” (Matthew 5)

Good Grief

Those who grieve eventually find solace. But to feel sorrow when one is convicted by the Spirit of God is a different characteristic, as in the case of King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. David’s grief at the loss of the Divine presence made him scream, “Don’t take your Spirit away from me!” God’s Spirit remained with David—the same Spirit about which Yeshua said later, “…He will send you a Counselor [Comforter]” (John 14:16). This is the deep, divine consolation of which the Sermon on the Mount speaks.

How Can a Strong Leader be Meek?

Be meek! But how can a leader, breaking through resistance, be meek under the attacks of this world? This is true not just for leaders. For a husband or wife in a family, the question is how to be meek, suspecting that if they do, “everything can go out of balance”? The Torah’s words about Moses, the greatest leader—that he was the humblest of all—sound like a joke! How was this possible, given the rebellion of Datan, Abiram and Korah? Such behaviors naturally push us to initiate confrontation, to shout, to be uneasy. But it was precisely at this time that Moses showed humility. And it is namely this pattern that Yeshua, the Messiah and the Savior of all, used in His Nine Beatitudes! Reach meekness, and your destiny will be to “inherit the Earth.”

How far from the standard of meekness are modern leaders! And not only leaders—all of us fall short of this standard! And it is here that Yeshua challenges us to “reach and see the fruits of God’s glory in life.” Sometimes we hope to receive the glory of God in prayer as if it were like “instant coffee,” but these blessings listed in the sermon on the mount will also involve decisions and actions on our part. 

9 Beatitudes & 9 Fruits of the Spirit

It is possible that these nine commandments or beatitudes, or nine states of a person, from Matthew 5 can be connected with the nine fruits of the Spirit, about which we read in Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22-23: “The fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, mercy, faith, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Interestingly, at the end of the nine beatitudes, Yeshua talked about the permanence of God’s law (His Torah, Matthew 5:17-18). Paul, after listing the nine fruits of the Spirit, says that “against such things there is no law.” The power of the New Covenant is exactly in the fact that the Torah no longer tells us from the outside how to live, but it is recorded within us, in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), by the Sacrifice of the Messiah.

The goal, by God’s grace, is reaching the qualities of the Sermon on the Mount (at least much of the time), and experiencing the fullness of the Lord. 

This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, May 8, 2019, and reposted with permission.