Introduction to the Beatitudes
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 5:2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 5:11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 5:12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
The Beatitudes are part of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount." This was a sermon delivered on a hillside near the Sea of Galilee. There as been some discussion over this sermon in regards to whether Jesus preached it all at one time, or was it a compilation of other sayings and sermons taught by Jesus. However, most scholars, and more importantly the Gospel accounts agree that the scripture for the Sermon on the Mount, came from a single sermon preached by Jesus. And that it was this sermon or portions thereof, which the Gospel writers recorded for our edification. What we call the "Beatitudes," are part of the opening portion of that sermon. Because of the significance of Jesus' message, which make up the Beatitudes, they have been grouped together, set apart and given a distinct name, despite the fact that they were part of His overall sermon. The location where the Sermon on the Mount was preached is commonly referred to as the "Mount of Beatitudes." And it's believed to be located on the northwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee, somewhere between Capernaum and Gennesaret. This was a location where Jesus frequently taught the people and spoke to the crowds. The setting for the sermon takes place after Jesus had finished praying alone on the mountain side and was coming down the hillside with His disciples. The Gospel of Luke tells us, "Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles."
After praying on the hillside, Jesus called His disciples and chose from among them twelve men whom He then named apostles. After doing this, Jesus descended from the hillside to a larger, more open and level area where a multitude had assembled, and it was there that He taught the people. Luke goes on to tell us, "And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed." Afterwhich Jesus taught the people. Many Bible scholars and theologians believe that the hillside spoken of here in these passages, was part of the mountain ridge that ran east to west, not far from Capernaum, near the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The name of this ridge is "Kurun Hattin," which means "Horns of Hattin." However, after Jesus time, after His death and resurrection as Christianity began to grow and spread, the location became known as the "Mount of Beatitudes." The Beatitudes make up the introductory statements of Jesus' sermon as He speaks about the future blessings of those who place their faith in Him alone for salvation. These blessings make up part of the many promises and gifts of God, which are given to those who repent and turn away from their sins, and turn to Jesus by faith alone. Jesus calls on His followers to be good and to do good. But not by their own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells all followers of Christ. This is because it's the Holy Spirit who gives us the faith to believe, and then sanctifies us in that faith as we grow in Christ.
Scripture taken from the Modern King James Version of the Holy Bible Copyright © 1962 - 1998 By Jay P. Green, Sr.
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