Do You Follow? – Mathew 5:1-16- The Kingdom of Blessing. There are so many opinions by amazing scholars on this passage. A few of us have heard the Beatitudes so many times that we are at risk of not hearing the message as good news to the original audience. So many principles for daily living have been gleaned from this deep and wise teaching that we are also at risk of moralizing it as a standard of behavior a posture to attempt to be in God’s favor.
We know Jesus taught many times “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” and on that hill in Galilee probably said more to the crowd, than these words we have from Matthew. Matthew has collected Jesus’ words, as an eyewitness, and delivered them to us. He is not a dispassionate observer but as a disciple and a master story teller. So what does he want us to know about how Jesus addressed the crowds? Do we remember who these people were? What was the makeup of this group who were first to hear the euangelion, the good news of the kingdom of God? Take a moment to set the scene together and feel the surprise about with whom God is pleased (i.e. has his favor, blessed). Take a listen to “Do You Follow? The Kingdom of Blessing” here and tell me what you think!
Nothing shakes me up quite like the words of Jesus. I’ve embarked on a teaching series through the Gospel of Matthew (The first book in the New Testament) and invite you to join me.
Question for you: Is a Gospel the same as the Gospel? Consider the following from britannica.com: “The English word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon godspell (“good story”). The classical Greek word euangelion means “a reward for bringing of good news” or the “good news” itself. In the emperor cult particularly, in which the Roman emperor was venerated as the spirit and protector of the empire, the term took on a religious meaning: the announcement of the appearance or accession to the throne of the ruler.”
Is a Gospel the same as the Gospel? We’ll see in the Gospel according to Matthew (formerly named Levi and one of Jesus’ apostles) that a Gospel is a biography and that within the story of Jesus we find meaning to our story. The Good News comes to us that the rule and reign of the Creator God on Earth has begun again in King Jesus’ “accession to the throne.” The Gospel is the announcement that God has done a reconciling work in Jesus (life, death, burial, resurrection) to bring us into the kingdom as heirs and partners in his work.
Sometimes Jesus is hard to understand and sometimes Jesus is hard to follow. The Gospel of Matthew has a theme running through it about Hearing and Responding and actually the Hebrew concept of hearing includes responding especially with the Great News that the Kingdom of God has arrived on earth again. Do You Follow?
Listen in on the first teaching “New Beginnings” on iTunes here or from the Issaquah Christian Church website here.