Matthew 5.0 – The Blessings God Promises to His People

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Sep 4, 2016

CHAPTER (5) SYNOPSIS = Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount Address (Part 1).

1. Leading the Jewish crowds to a mountainside sb viewed as a clear sign that Jesus has become Israel’s new Moses since:

1.1. Like Moses, Jesus chooses elders to carry the ministry burden prior to going up the mountain (Luk 6:12-16 w/Exo 18:18-27)

1.2. Like Moses, Jesus goes to the mountain for the purpose of teaching the people the laws and promises (blessings and curses) of God’s covenant (1-2 w/Exo 19:1-3//3-12 w/Luk 6:20-26 w/Deu 28//17-18, 21, 27, 33, 38, 43 w/Exo 20-24)

1.3. Moses prophesied of another Moses to come (Deu 18:15-19)

1.4. This is how the first disciples viewed Jesus (Act 3:19-22, 7:37).

2. As the new Moses, Jesus will also function as both Lord and Savior (Act 7:35).

3. As the new Moses, Jesus functions as an upgrade, not a replacement. Though Jesus would establish a new covenant w/God’s people, He did not come to destroy their former religion. Rather, He had come to see that what Moses taught was followed and improve on it (17, 21…; Mar 7:6-13; Luk 16:27-29, 24:27; Joh 1:14 w/17, 5:45-46, 7:23-24; Heb 3:1-6 w/8:6).[1]

4. Jesus teaches the blessings portion of the covenant in the form of a chiasm[2]:

4.1. Structural support:

A. Verb in present tense (3) – “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

B. Verb in future (passive) (4)

C. Verb in future (non-passive) (5)

D. Verb in future (passive) (6) [MOST IMPORTANT]

D. Verb in future (passive) (7) [MOST IMPORTANT]

C. Verb in future (non-passive) (8)

B. Verb in future (passive) (9)

A. Verb in present tense (10) – “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

4.2. Additional support:

4.2.1. The two groups (vv3-6 and 7-12) each have a total of 36 Greek words. In other words, they are exactly the same in their word content.

4.2.2. Chiasms are common in Scripture. David Dorsey identifies 250 in the OT alone (avg. 7 per OT book)[3]. The NT makes frequent use of them as well. (e.g. Jos 1:5b-9)

5. Jesus’ intention is not to take away from or replace God’s former promises/blessings to His people (2Co 1:20), but rather summarize (and re-establish) the entirety of the Scripture’s witness on this subject[4].


5.1. I’VE GOT YOUR BACK (3, 10-12)

To those (of God’s people) who suffer, are beat up, marginalized, afraid, or crushed in spirit (“poor in spirit”) by others b/c of their commitment to sound doctrine/gospel, godly living and love for Jesus (“persecuted for righteousness”), God STILL promises to come to your aid. He and His powerful kingdom as their stronghold, have your back. God will fight for you (“theirs is the kingdom of God”) (Deu 1:29-30; Jos 10:24-25; Psa 34:6-8, 17-22, 42:5, 9-11, 43:1-5, 142:1-6, 143:3-12; Jer 20:7-13; Joh 16:33; 2Ti 1:4 w/7 w/3:12 w/4:7-8)[5].

5.2.  I’LL LIFT YOU UP (4, 9)

To those (of God’s people) who are burdened and broken (“mourn”) b/c of their sin, who seek to find peace w/God through such repentance (“peacemakers”), God STILL promises to “comfort” you w/the knowledge that you will remain/be His child again (“sons of God”) (Jam 4:9-10; Psa 51:1-17; Isa 57:14-19; 1Co 5:1-2 w/2Co 7:8-10).

5.3. I’LL HOOK YOU UP (5, 8)

To those (of God’s people) who are “pure in heart” (i.e. blameless), who demonstrate it through lives of obedient submission to God (“meek” – e.g. Num 12:3). Such people will STILL be the recipients of God’s abundant life blessings (“inherit the earth”) as a confirmation that He is their God and they His people – the sheep He cares for (“they shall see God”) (Deu 28:1-14; Psa 37:10-13, 18-34, 119:1,17, 56, 64; Eze 34:23-31; Phi 2:12-15; Jam 1:17 w/25; 1Jo 2:28-3:6).

5.4. I’LL PICK UP THE TAB (6, 7) [The center of the chiasm = the most important/precious of all God’s blessings]

To those (of God’s people) who love and seek justice (“hunger and thirst for righteousness”), who – by such seeking, prove to be the true people of “mercy” (since w/o justice there can be no mercy – Psa 112:4-5). They are those possessing the very heart of God since He has always been and remains a God Who also seeks mercy thru seeing justice served (Psa 33:5; Psa 9:7 w/89:14; e.g. the cross). They are therefore also those who are pursuing what matters most in this life (Deu 16:20; Pro 21:3; Rom 2:6-7, 6:19)[6]. As such, God STILL promises them His most important and precious blessing. You wb “satisfied” w/His forgiveness (“receive mercy”). In other words, our daily shortcomings/debt from sin wb picked up/covered by God. Because however of Jesus’ death, this promise/blessing gets even better (i.e. here is the why Heb 8:6 says Jesus’ ministry/promises are better).  What before existed only in name, has now become reality: we gain payment (vs. simply pass-over) forgiveness/justification – which includes also (then) the extra benefit/blessing of the Holy Spirit and being freed from the power of sin (Amo 5:14-15 w/21-24; Isa 1:27, 55:6-7 w/56:1-2; Eze 33:10-20; Mat 9:13 w/Pro 21:3/w/Hos 6:6; Jam 2:1-13)[7]

[1]If Jesus’ agenda had been one of replacement, no Jew would have ever accepted Him. They knew and looked forward to the replacement of the covenant, but not Moses (i.e. his Law) that governed it, since God had made it clear that this would both never be removed (Psa 119:160; Deu 12:34) and continued under the New (Mal 4:1-4). Suspicion of this very thing is the reason many of the Jews did reject Jesus: they erroneously believed He was contrary to (or attempting to replace) Moses (e.g. Act 6:11-14). In contrast, many within Evangelical Christianity see Jesus as a replacement to Moses (and therefore also his law). They unfortunately have more in common with the heresy Marcionism than they do Christianity. In the spirit of the late Christopher Hitchens, Evangelicals’ religion and God bears no resemblance to the God of the Old Testament.

[2] A literary device identified by its particular sequence of tense, words, phrases or ideas which are presented then repeated in reverse order (A, B-B, A; e.g. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Ben Franklin). As such, each mirrored pair sb understood together as emphasizing, explaining or expanding on the other. Additionally, the center couplet of the chiasm is to viewed as the heart, key, most important element or main subject of the others.

[3] See Literary Structure Of The Old Testament: A Commentary On Genesis To Malachi (Dorsey, David, 2004)

[4] Oftentimes these verses are viewed as the requirements to become or the identity of the true people of God. This view however fails to consider: 1) Jesus’ original audience: Jews already in covenant (i.e. already the people of God); 2) Jesus ‘s clear allusion to the declarations of blessing recorded in the OT which are always and only addressed to God’s people (see Deu 28:1-12. The only other place in the Bible where we see such frequency and close proximity of this form of declaration to God’s people).  As such, Jesus’ words are to be viewed as a reinstatement of those former blessings to the new covenant community He is creating.

[5] Many have taken the statement, “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” to refer to one’s membership in the kingdom. Once more, given Jesus’ original audience (i.e. covenant Jews), such words would have seemed strangely obvious and off-putting. They didn’t need to get in- they already were! Additionally, if kingdom membership is indeed what Jesus is talking about, then His (later) prophecy about the kingdom being taken away from the Jews becomes nonsensical since a kingdom cannot be taken away from those who were not already a part of it. That those Jesus is speaking to are indeed already in the kingdom, is further supported by His identity of them in vv 13-14. Consider again the fact that though Jesus would establish a new covenant, such was not to destroy/replace the former religion, but rather re-establish (and improve) on it. As such, those in the Old, willing to submit to Moses of the new, would suffer no break in their relationship w/God.

[6] In contrast to what the world (and many Christians) think, God is not concerned w/making us more polite people, but more just/righteous people (Luk 6:26).

[7] In my opinion, what also makes this the most important or precious of God’s promises to us, is not simply the blessing of forgiveness, but that by it, God has extended to His people a system of salvation that is incredibly gracious and doable. In other words, God is not expecting perfection from His people, but faithfulness (Deu 28:1-2).