Lessons from the Master Teacher (Matthew 4:25-5:5)

A sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS 23 Jan 2011


4:25. And many crowds followed Him

            from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and beyond the Jordan.

5:1 And when He saw the crowds, He went up to the mountain,

      and when He sat down, his disciples came up to Him.

5:2 And when He opened His mouth, He began teaching them, saying,

5:3 “Blessed are the ones who are lowly in spirit,

            because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

5:4 “Blessed are the ones who mourn,

            because it is they who will be comforted.

5:5 “Blessed are the meek,

            because it is they who will inherit the earth.”


(Other scripture citations below are from the NASB)

Setting vs. 25-2

·         Spring, 26 AD

·         After healing crowds

·         “When He saw the crowds, He went up to the mountain”  - Show on map “Horns of Hattan”

·         Why did Jesus walk away from the multitude when He saw them? To cause them to follow Him.

·         “Do not cast pearls before swine.” Mt. 7:6

·         A bunch of the crowd did follow him, for “the crowds were amazed at His teaching” (7:28).

·         Let us notice those who are interested and invest extra in them.

·         Let us also be followers of Jesus. Are we expending the effort to show we are interested? (Taking time to read the Bible, engage with church, talk with Him in prayer?)

Lessons from the Master Teacher

1.    Invite followers (Up mountain)

2.    Be seated (Set up to teach)

·         Formal Posture of Jewish teacher

·         So hard to get openings in everyday life to do much teaching.

·         Set up to teach – lunch Bible study? home Bible study?

·         Jesus also taught informally while walking along the road and in conversations, so also look for those informal teachable moments.

3.    Open your mouth (Teach w/ words)

·         Francis of Assisi’s quote, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words” has worked its way into mainstream Christianity to such an extent that Christians focus on actions and have become hesitant to use words. Jesus’ example balances us out.

·         The Apostles also show us the way:

o       Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him [the Ethiopian Eunuch].

o       Acts 10:34 [Upon hearing Cornelius’ greeting] Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,

o       2Cor 6:11  Paul wrote, “O Corinthians, our mouth has been open unto you, our heart is enlarged.”

·         Don’t be afraid to open your mouth and trust God to give you the words. Mark 13:10-11  "The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”

4.    Be winsome (Bless)

·         Not “Why can’t you…” or “Quit doing…”

·         “Easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar!”

·         Gospel is “good news!” – let us share it like it is good news!

·         Μακάριοs - Blessed=happy

·         Marvin Vincent’s development of the word’s meaning: “Its root is supposed to be a word meaning great, and its earlier meaning appears to be limited to outward prosperity; so that it is used at times as synonymous with rich… from Socrates onward, virtue depends primarily upon knowledge; so that to be happy is, first of ail, to know... The biblical use of the word lifted it into the region of the spiritual, as distinguished from the merely intellectual… emphasiz[ing], as its principal element, a sense of God's approval founded in righteousness which rests ultimately on love to God… Behind it lies the clear cognition of sin as the fountain-head of all misery, and of holiness as the final and effectual cure for every woe…The vague outlines of an abstract good vanish from it, and give place to the pure heart's vision of God, and its personal communion with the Father in heaven. Where it told of the Stoic's self-sufficiency, it now tells of the Christian's poverty of spirit and meekness. Where it hinted at the Stoic's self-repression and strangling of emotion, it now throbs with a holy sensitiveness, and with a monition to rejoice with them that rejoice, and to weep with them that weep... The Christian word blessed is full of the light of heaven. It sternly throws away from itself every hint of the Stoic's asserted right of suicide as a refuge from human ills, and emphasizes something which thrives on trial and persecution, which glories in tribulation, which not only endures but conquers the world, and expects its crown in heaven.”

·         “Blessed are” – beatitude form found in the Psalms, Gospels, and Revelation:

o       Ps 2:12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

o       Ps 106:3 How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!

o       Psa 119:1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.  2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.  (cf. Psa 128:1 How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways.)

o       Isa 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice How blessed are all those who long for Him.

o       Mat 13:16 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see and your ears, because they hear. (cf Luk 10:23)  - Blessing predicated on God’s enabling.

o       Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." – faith is blessed

o       Luke 11:28  "…blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." (cf.  Joh 13:17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. )

o       Luke 12:37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

o       Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."

o       Rev 19:9 Then he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God."

o       Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

5.    Repeat yourself

·         There is some repetition here in Mat. 5:

o       “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven” shows up in v. 3 & 10,

o       Blessings on the persecuted are pronounced twice, first in v. 10, then in v.11.

·         Moreover, in Luke 6 we seem to have a recap of the beatitudes at a later point in Jesus’ ministry after the disciples have been chosen: Luke 6:20-22 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man…”

·         Many good Bible teachers have made a case that the Luke 6 beatitudes are the same event as that described in Matthew, but I prefer to think that Matthew describes an earlier event and that Luke 6 is a message repeated later. An obvious indicator is that Matt. 5 was delivered on a mountain, whereas Luke 6 was delivered on a plain.[1]

·         Jameison, Fausset and Brown put it this way: “The weight of argument appears to lie with those who think them two separate discourses. It seems hard to conceive that Matthew should have put this discourse before his own calling, if it was not uttered till long after, and was spoken in his own hearing as one of the newly chosen Twelve. Add to this, that Matthew introduces his discourse amidst very definite markings of time, which fix it to our Lord’s first preaching tour; while that of Luke, which is expressly said to have been delivered immediately after the choice of the Twelve, could not have been spoken till long after the time noted by Matthew. It is hard, too, to see how either discourse can well be regarded as the expansion or contraction of the other. And as it is beyond dispute that our Lord repeated some of His weightier sayings in different forms, and with varied applications, it ought not to surprise us that, after the lapse of perhaps a year - when, having spent a whole night on the hill in prayer to God, and set the Twelve apart, He found Himself surrounded by crowds of people, few of whom probably had heard the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still remembered much of it - He should go over its principal points again, with just as much sameness as to show their enduring gravity...”

·         Moses used repetition – that’s what the book of Deuteronomy is all about (deutero=second iteration + nomy=law).

·         God gave us four gospels that essentially say the same thing because we need repetition to get things straight and to keep from forgetting.

·         What really important things do you need to say again to your children, to co-workers, and to your friends?

6.    Address attitudes (7 matters of heart)

·         Jesus didn’t come out swinging on worship music. He didn’t nail down the details on baptism and Communion. He didn’t set a dress code.

·         That’s not to say we shouldn’t ever think about those things, but the point is He majored on the majors.

·         As Dr. Henry Krabbendam, a Bible professor at my alma mater used to say, “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.”

·         Depending on how you count, Jesus gives us a list of 7 or 8 things that constitute blessedness, and every one of them is an inward character quality – none of them are about outward appearances or actions:

1.      Poor in spirit

2.      Those who mourn

3.      Meek

4.      Hunger & thirst for righteousness

5.      Merciful

6.      Pure in heart

7.      Peacemakers

(Persecuted) – has more to do with what is done to you if you live the other 7

= 1 Whole Christian character

·         I want to look at these character qualities and the specific blessings attached to them, in depth over the coming weeks, but for now, think about what you want to say to those God has called you to speak to. Can you address heart attitudes and call them into conformity with this kind of inner character, rather than focusing on externals?

7.    Challenge assumptions (Paradox)

·         The world thinks “blessed are the rich, the powerful, the ones with easy lives.”
Jesus challenges this kind of fleshly, temporal thinking with a radical reorientation toward God and eternity.

·         We need to head off wrongheaded thinking that we are aware of in people around us.

·         For instance: Friend who would answer “How are you doing?” with “A lot better than I deserve.” This was designed to combat the “You deserve a break today” mentality, the “everybody is basically good” mentality and the “God won’t send me to hell over a little things like that” mentality. It challenged a cultural mindset and opened an opportunity for the Gospel of Grace through Jesus to sinners to be explained.

·         2 Corinthians 10:3-5  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.


[1] A.T. Robertson argued that the plain could have been a flat place on the mountain.