May 3, 2017
This will be our second week looking at the first 12 verses of Matthew chapter 5, the portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we call The Beatitudes. In this episode, called, “Not What They Expected”, we are going to start unpacking what these verses meant and what Jesus was trying to teach those in His audience. It wouldn’t take a stretch of the imagination to conclude that what Jesus had to say was not what they expected to hear. After all, they viewed Jesus as a rabbi or teacher. They assumed that all He would say would fall in line with everything else they had heard said or taught by other rabbis and religious leaders. But these opening lines of Jesus’ sermon were shocking and a bit disconcerting to His listeners. They were unexpected and, most likely, unpleasant to hear. But it is critical that we clearly understand what Jesus is saying in these opening verses, because they will set up much of what He has to say in the rest of this passage. As always, try to hear Jesus’ words from the perspective of His audience. Put your contemporary viewpoints aside and try not to hear what Jesus has to say through your Christian point of view. His words were shocking. His expectations would have come across as unrealistic. But Jesus is simply setting the table so that He can eventually serve them the bread of life and living water.