Matthew 5:1-12 “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
This section of Scripture is called the Beatitudes. We call it the Beatitudes because the word “blessed” if used over and over again, and it begins with a “B.” Furthermore, each Blessing that is talked about should reflect a certain attitude. Hence, the word: Beatitude.
Before we look at the blessings let’s take a look at the situation. Jesus is sitting on the top of the mountain. It is His disciples who came unto Him. He is not speaking to critics or skeptics. He is speaking to His own followers. Not only is He speaking to them, but He is also teaching them. These disciples are NOT Christians. There are no Christians present until after His death. He is NOT speaking to the church. The church is not even established at this time. It will come on the scene after Jesus ascends up to heaven. There are NO born-again believers there at this time. There are NO New Testament writings at this time. Therefore we know that this discourse is not addressed to the church; nor is it addressed to the apostles because the 12 are not chosen to be apostles until Matthew 10:1-4. Any attempt to apply the Sermon on the Mount to the church or to Christians would be a doctrinal mistake. We can however apply it to each of our lives inspirationally or practically.
Doctrinally, the Sermon on the Mount is given by the long awaited Jewish King to His people: Jews. He is describing events that will transpire during the kingdom which He was offering them at that time. Someday, in the future, regardless of who will accept or reject His kingdom, He will set it up. Here, He is offering it to His people. In the future, He won’t offer. He will take back what is rightfully His.
The Sermon on the Mount is given by Jesus to Jews at the time when He first appears, (the first advent) to offer Himself as their literal, physical king. Although we as present-day Christians can receive something from this passage, it is not doctrinally for us. Great mistakes are made by those who teach that it is. They believe that they can bring Jesus back to set up His kingdom if they take on the attributes of the Sermon on the Mount. For example: they believe that if they are reviled, persecuted, or slandered by other men for Jesus is sake that Jesus will be inclined to come back and set up His kingdom. Another example is that if they are pure in heart then Jesus can come back and be King. People who believe this way are called “kingdom builders.” We know that there is no way that any man can build Jesus’ kingdom on earth. It can only be established by Jesus himself. He is not telling them how to build His kingdom. He is telling them what His kingdom will be like when HE builds it.
The first time He came to offer himself as King. The next time He comes back He will establish Himself as King regardless of anyone’s belief, opinion, or acceptance. He does not need us to build His kingdom.