The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew (chapters 5, 6, and 7).
When Jesus ascends a mountain, and begins to address the crowds (verses 1-2), the reader is expected to make the connection to another teacher (Moses), and another mountain (Sinai). And soon enough, Jesus will complete that picture by offering instruction in righteousness — the Sermon on the Mount will have plenty to say about what we, as kingdom people, should and should not do.
But that’s not how his famous sermon begins. It begins with a list, but not with a list of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots.” The list we find here is in the indicative mood, not the imperative. It is description, not prescription. Jesus is not insisting that we become people who starve to see justice done (verse 6) — I suppose you either do or you don’t. What he is saying is that such people are blessed of God. God looks upon such people with favor. God’s eye is on them; they will be happy in the end. This, says Jesus, is the way things are.
The Beatitudes are eight blessings in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation, without narrative, “cryptic, precise, and full of meaning. Each one includes a topic that forms a major biblical theme”. The Beatitudes begins with the word “Blessed.” The word means more than “happy,” because happiness is an emotion often dependent on outward circumstances. “Blessed” here refers to the ultimate well-being and distinctive spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God.
The Beatitudes begins at verse 3 thru verse 12, but Jesus, the great teacher, continues to teach through chapters 5-7. Read these chapters slowly and learn from Jesus’ Words. Following are a few highlights:
Salt and Light: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (verses 13-16).
Love for Enemies: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (verses 43-44).
Ask, Seek, Knock: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (chapter 7:7-8).
Judging Others: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (chapter 7:1-2).
Remember, the Word of God is “A lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway.”