When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying, “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. – Matthew 5:1-3 AMP
The Amplified Bible is a unique translation of the Bible. The translation attempts to expand the understanding of the English words used. The purpose is to illuminate a deeper meaning of the original text, Hebrew and\or Greek- as it is translated into a less description language, English. Theologian Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss stated that the Amplified Bible is unique among Bible versions in that it provides “amplifications”—synonyms and explanations in brackets and parentheses within the text… The strength of this version is that it acknowledges that no single English word or phrase can precisely capture the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek. Amplification is indicated by parentheses, brackets, italicized conjunctions, and bold or italicized text. Today’s scripture is the opening of the greatest sermon ever written. Matthew 5-7 contains what is called the Sermon on the Mount, it is Jesus’ first Great Teaching and His lasting instruction manual to how we are to live IN THIS WORLD, without becoming OF THIS WORLD. The Sermon on the Mount is one of the greatest GIFTS from THE ONE, whose BIRTH was a GIFT TO THE WORLD. As it was written over 600 years before it happened: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted]. “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the [b]gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 55:4-5)
Leader, of the many gifts of Christmas, all come from the Babe in the manger. Reconciliation with God, Peace with God, Everlasting life with God, and the right to be called Children of God, and co-heirs to the Kingdom of God- all are clear gifts of Christmas. And Jesus’ gave us many other gifts, while He was ‘in flesh’ and dwelling among us. The Sermon on the Mount is one of those great gifts. Author John R. W. Stott in an explanation of a book that he wrote about this section of scripture, says this about this great gift from our Lord and Savior, Jesus. “The followers of Jesus are to be different,” writes John Stott, “different from both the nominal church and the secular world, different from both the religious and the irreligious. The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian counter-culture. Here is a Christian value-system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, lifestyle, and network of relationships–all of which are totally at variance with those in the non-Christian world. And this Christian counterculture is the life of the kingdom of God, a fully human life indeed but lived out under the divine rule”. What a gift, through the BABE IN THE MANGER! Through this NEW WAY of living, we received the gift of a BETTER LIFE NOW! A way to live IN PEACE with God, and PEACE with our fellow man, woman, and child. “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied. “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. (Matthew 5:6-7)
Conduit, this opening section of the Sermon on the Mount, is called the Beatitudes. These are ATTITUDES that we are to strive for, as we work to DIE TO OURSELVES and Reach the pinnacle where it is ‘NOT I WHO LIVES, but Christ Jesus who lives in, and through me’! Jesus teaches nine “Beatitudes” (aka blessings): “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God. “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God. “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for [c]doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. (Matthew 5:8-10) In the Amplified Bible the BLESSED, is a growing sense of understanding and, with that understanding, comes power, and through the understanding of that power, comes a stronger FAITH, and a deeper PEACE! Re-Read Matthew 5:3-11 and see how each BLESSED is parenthetically described as a GROWING, BUILDING process. “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12) The Sermon on the Mount, is a BLESSING, a GIFT from the BABE IN THE MANGER. The gift of a Christian value-system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, lifestyle, and network of relationships–all of which are totally at variance with those in the non-Christian world. And this Christian counterculture is the life of the kingdom of God, a fully human life indeed, but lived out under the divine rule.” Now live your life, like Jesus’ life mattered!