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Matthew 4:12-25 – Jesus began His ministry

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Matthew

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Notes for parents and guardians

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12 is commonly known as “The Beatitudes”. It outline a series of blessings pronounced by Jesus as He began to preach His sermon on the mountain. This mountain is now named as the mountain of Beatitudes and this sermon that Jesus preached is commonly known as “The Sermon on the Mount”. This sermon is recorded in Matthew 5:1 – 7:29 and Luke 6:20-49.

Take note that Jesus began His sermon with the Beatitudes which is a list of promises to comfort all who are suffering. In fact, following these promises, Jesus call believers “the salt and light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16.  This reveals to us that it is top in priority in God’s heart to comfort and to save those who are crying to Him for help, (the poor in spirit).  It tells us who we are in God’s heart. What is of utmost importance to God is the well-being of believers who are His children (John 1:12-13). God wants us to know that He is our God and our Heavenly Father who cares for us and who rewards us. He wants us to be encouraged and to remain strengthened even when we face difficult situations (John 16:33).

The word “beatitudes” comes from the Latin word “beati,” meaning “blessed” or “happy”. However, many people interpreted the Beatitudes as the be-attitude that Christians must have, like a list of rules to follow—we  have to rejoice when we face tragedies, be merciful, gentle and be a peacemaker. If you are following the rules instead of focusing on God’s promises, you are missing out something very important.

Unveiling God’s love letter in the Beatitudes

Actually, there is a hidden love letter in the Beatitudes that we should instead focus on. This love letter tells us that the character of God is such that God’s heart is always for the weakest, the least, the last, the outcast, the “nobody”, the bullied, the messed up. Our God is a very compassionate God who gives us hope. Yet, only He has all the power to restore and reward us.

Love letter from God

Unveiling God’s love letter in the Beatitudes

Actually, there is a hidden love letter in the Beatitudes that we should instead focus on. This love letter tells us that the character of God is such that God’s heart is always for the weakest, the least, the last, the outcast, the “nobody”, the bullied, the messed up. Our God is a very compassionate God who gives us hope. Yet, only He has all the power to restore and reward us.

Do you know that this sermon on the mountain was concluded at the verse Matthew 7:29 where Matthew wrote that Jesus spoke with authority. He spoke with authority because He is the Son of God and He is God Himself and He knows He is the One who bless all who had reached the lowest point in their life and are calling out to God to save them. In 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 (MSG), it is written that God chose those despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all… . Therefore, let this hidden love letter in the Beatitudes give you the assurance that whatever is your sufferings, whatever low status you may be in, however tarnished and despised background you may be from, you have Jesus’ promise that great reward is awaiting you.

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Do not impose the Beatitudes as a set of rules or expectations on someone who is suffering

Sometimes, Christians impose the Beatitudes as a set of rules on other Christians who are suffering. Instead of comforting them who has sufferred losses or are going through a difficult time, some religious people expect believers of Jesus to be able to brush off their grief immediately and put on a joyful front so as to be a testimony to non-believers. This is not what our LORD Jesus taught us to do.

If you recall, when Jesus went to raise Lazarus, He wept when He saw the people crying, eventhough He knew Lazarus would be raised from the dead in a few minutes time. Take note that even our LORD Jesus would cry with the people and not impose on them that they should demonstrate their faith before He could perform the miracle of raising Lazarus.

Remember

My child, know this: our heavenly Father is a God who cries with us, who could feel our pain and who is always with us to comfort us. Yet, He is God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth and He is able and willing to restore what we have lost, to bless us beyond our imagination, to reward us bountifully when we have a contrite heart. You must never, never lose hope in God because His mercy never fails. He will reward those who believe and deligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). This is why we praise Him — because He deserves all praises, He has no evil thoughts for us. Whatever bad things we are going through are not retribution that He brought upon us. He is a good Father. Even if you have made mistakes, as long as you seek Him, you are in Christ Jesus and because of that, you are righteous (Colossians 1:22). God will turn whatever that is bad to become good for you. So let’s give thanks and praise Him.

Remember

My child, know this: our heavenly Father is a God who cries with us, who could feel our pain and who is always with us to comfort us. Yet, He is God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth and He is able and willing to restore what we have lost, to bless us beyond our imagination, to reward us bountifully when we have a contrite heart. You must never, never lose hope in God because His mercy never fails. He will reward those who believe and deligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). This is why we praise Him — because He deserves all praises, He has no evil thoughts for us. Whatever bad things we are going through are not retribution that He brought upon us. He is a good Father. Even if you have made mistakes, as long as you seek Him, you are in Christ Jesus and because of that, you are righteous (Colossians 1:22). God will turn whatever that is bad to become good for you. So let’s give thanks and praise Him.

Let’s believe and speak out our faith

Jesus told us in Mark 11:22-24 (NKJV)  the following:

“….. “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

If you count, the above scripture has 5 “say” or “says” and 1 “ask”. This tells us how important it is to speak out what we believe.  So whenever you face with a challenge in life, speak out the promises in the Beatitudes. The following are examples:

When the situation seems hopeless….declare:

” I have the kingdom of heaven and hence only good will happen to me. Though things appear to be hopeless, yet I believe there is hope because Jesus promised in Matthew 5:3 that blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

When you have lost what is dear to you… declare:

” I praise the LORD for embracing me, weeping with me and comforting me as I am hurting. I believe because Jesus said so in Matthew 5:4 that blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. I shall be restored and receive a crown of beauty for ashes because God’s words say so in Isaiah 61:3 and God will turn my mourning into dancing (Psalms 30:11).

When you feel you are  “nobody”, weak, last, least, lowly…  declare:

” I know my LORD, my God always go for the underdog (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). Though I am lowly and have nothing, yet I am rich and am given the crown of life(Revelation 2:9, 2:10)  because I have Jesus. He promised in Matthew 5:5 that the humble shall inherit the earth. Someday I will dine with Christ and will be granted to sit with Christ on his throne (Revelation 3:21).”

When injustice happens, when you are being bullied, declare

” My LORD Jesus loves me and He will fight for me. He promised in Matthew 5:6 that those who thirst for justice will be satisfied. I believe and I declare like what King David declared –“The battle is the LORD’s” (1 Samuel 17:43).  My God’s name is the LORD Almighty (Isaiah 51:15). I belong to Him and He has hidden me safely in His hands (Isaiah 15:16).”

When people think lowly of you or criticise you or say all kinds of evil about you declare

” I belong to Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:29) and I am in Him (John 14:20).  Blessed are those who bless me, cursed are those who treat me with contempt (Genesis 12:3).  Every voice that raise up to accuse me shall be silenced (Isaiah 54:17). I shall leap for joy and rejoice exceedingly. I will continue to trust and walk the path directed by my LORD Jesus. He has promised in Matthew 5:12 & Luke 6:23  that great reward awaits me in heaven.”

Promise

Claim this promise spoken by Jesus

PromiseClaim this promise spoken by Jesus

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

Matthew 5:3

Do you want to receive Jesus into your life?

Jesus is God’s gift to you. When you believe in Jesus, you are saved, crossing from death to life (John 5:24, 6:54). You cannot achieve this salvation through any amount of good works because human effort can never meet the perfect standards of God (John 6:63). Only the grace of God can grant you this salvation and you can receive it only by believing in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). By the blood of Jesus, all your sins (past, present and future) are forgiven and the Holy Spirit of God that gives eternal life (John 6:63) can live in you forever (John 14:16). All it takes is to believe and say a simple prayer like this:

“Dear LORD Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and that Your love for me has driven You to leave Your throne in heaven to come to this world to die in my place so that I can be forgiven. Thank you that You suffered and died for me. I pray that You come into my life to be my Savior. Thank you that your blood has cleansed me from all my sins and I am forgiven even as I say this prayer. I believe and declare that from this moment onwards, , I am a new creation, I am a child of God, I am forgiven, I a new life, an eternal life. I pray that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can lead the victorious life that You came to give me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you have said the above prayer, you are saved. You have eternal life. You are a Christian, a new creation. Old things have passed away. God is doing a new thing in your life. Start walking with Jesus (pray to Him, read the bible, believe His promises) and you are going to experience breakthroughs and miracles. Look for a church that is based on the Word of God (the Bible), that believes in the power and miracles of God and that teaches the unfailing love and grace of God.

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QUESTIONS RELATED TO THIS READING

1. Is Jesus’ sermon on the mountain meant for Jesus’ disciples?

Matthew 5:1 stated that  Jesus went to the mountain because He saw the great multitudes. However that same verse also specially stated that Jesus’ disciples came to him. Looking at the contents of this sermon on the mountain, which Matthew recorded in Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29, it is likely that this sermon was addressed to all who were seeking after God, particularly His disciples.

That also explains why Jesus began with the promises that those who are poor in the spirit (who are seeking God to help them) are blessed and they will find God. In this same sermon, Jesus also assured them that their heavenly Father wants to bless them (Matthew 6:33, 7:11).

QUESTIONS RELATED TO THIS READING

1. Is Jesus’ sermon on the mountain meant for Jesus’ disciples?

Matthew 5:1 stated that  Jesus went to the mountain because He saw the great multitudes. However that same verse also specially stated that Jesus’ disciples came to him. Looking at the contents of this sermon on the mountain, which Matthew recorded in Matthew 5:1 to Matthew 7:29, it is likely that this sermon was addressed to all who were seeking after God, particularly His disciples.

That also explains why Jesus began with the promises that those who are poor in the spirit (who are seeking God to help them) are blessed and they will find God. In this same sermon, Jesus also assured them that their heavenly Father wants to bless them (Matthew 6:33, 7:11).

Did you notice

2. Did you notice that Matthew specifically wrote in Matthew 5:2 (NKJV) that Jesus opened his mouth? Why did he wrote that?

Think about it — when God was creating the universe, He spoke each item into existence.

Also, in John 1:1, we read that Jesus is God’s Word. So when Jesus spoke the promises in Matthew 5:1-12 (the Beatitudes), it is as serious and real as God creating the heavens and the earth.

Recall also, in Matthew 4:4, Jesus said that men shall live on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, meaning we should believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

The author, Matthew, in writing this gospel, was writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, that statement that Jesus “opened his mouth”  was emphasing the seriousness of the promises given to us, that God meant these promises and we must live our lives believing these promises.

Know for sure, my child, that heaven and earth may pass away but not Jesus words (Matthew 24:35).

If you are not yet a Christian but would like to receive Jesus into your life, pray this prayer:

“Dear LORD Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and that Your love for me has driven You to leave Your throne in heaven to come to this world to die in my place so that I can be forgiven. Thank you that You suffered and died for me. I pray that You come into my life to be my Savior. Thank you that your blood has cleansed me from all my sins and I am forgiven even as I say this prayer. I believe and declare that from this moment onwards, , I am a new creation, I am a child of God, I am forgiven, I have a new life, an eternal life. I pray that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can lead the victorious life that You came to give me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you have said the above prayer, you are saved. You have eternal life. You are a Christian, a new creation. Old things have passed away. God is doing a new thing in your life. Start walking with Jesus (pray to Him, read the bible, believe His promises) and you are going to experience breakthroughs and miracles. Look for a church that is based on the Word of God (the Bible), that believes in the power and miracles of God and that teaches the unfailing love and grace of God.

Previous Reading

Matthew 4:12-25 – Jesus began His ministry

Next Reading

Matthew 5:13-16 – Light & Salt of the World

Matthew

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