Key Scripture: Matthew 5:1-2 “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and began to teach them...”
According to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “The collection of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5-7... has been memorized, studied, taught, and preached more than any other single portion of the Bible.” Yet, since it is often presented without considering the context, the Sermon on the Mount is one of the most misunderstood passages of Scripture.
In presenting his account of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the Apostle Matthew writes to emphasize the truth that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah and Savior – the Seed of Eve who would crush the head of the Serpent (Genesis 3:15). Jesus is the son of David – the promised King of Kings who will forever rule in righteousness over the eternal kingdom of heaven. The One who “opened His mouth and began to teach” is the incarnate Word of God and Judge of the universe. He alone possesses the knowledge and authority to explain the spirit of the Law because it is He who came to fulfill it. In fact, Matthew bookended the Sermon on the Mount with passages that magnify His authority and power (see Matthew 3-4 and Matthew 8-9).
The person and work of Jesus Christ must be at the forefront of our minds as we read and interpret Matthew 5-7. Only then will we see, as David Platt writes, “What Jesus is demanding is not more righteous deeds by human effort, but more righteous hearts by divine grace.” Jesus taught the way of the kingdom – the way of true kingdom citizens who have life in Him and live for the glory of God alone.
Questions to Consider:
Matthew wrote to elicit a response to the person and work of Jesus Christ. What does Jesus say about Himself in Matthew 5:17 and 7:21? Are you relying on righteous deeds to make you right before God, or are you a true kingdom citizen?
Praise God for our Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. Ask God to help you reflect the character of King Jesus by the power of His grace.