Series: Student Ministry: The Sermon on the Mount

In 2011 there was a private investigator named David Lundberg who was tasked with finding a man by the name of Max Melitzer. He had been hired by the family of Max’s brother. The story is very interesting because he had been living on the street, homeless finding abandoned storage sheds to sleep in if he was lucky. Max had been living on the street for years, and apparently, during this time Max’s brother was wealthy. When Max’s brother passed away he left a significant, yet undisclosed amount of money for Max.

I’m not sure how much money Max was given, but according to the discussion with David Lundberg,

“He’ll no longer be living on the street or in abandoned storage sheds…He’ll be able to have a normal life, and be able to have a home, provide for himself, and purchase clothing, food and healthcare.”-

After years of scraping just to live, suddenly, Max was now rather comfortable with his finances. Imagine the situation with me. David Lundberg sits down on a park bench with Max and says, “You’re not poor anymore, you have been given a significant amount of money. You will be comfortable for the rest of your life. There will be no more reason to ever live on the streets again.”

Now, consider what we read in Scripture. God’s people were rescued out of the land of Egypt. There they were slaves doing the bidding of their Egyptian masters. God rescued them with a mighty hand and when they crossed the Red Sea they were taken to a mountain where Moses stood giving a covenant to God’s people. God reminded them that they were not alone, that they were His. He introduces Himself to them and declared the blessings of His covenant with them. They were not slaves in Egypt, they were sons and daughters of the King. He had a land to give them and they made it out of Egypt with great wealth.

Now, many years later, Jesus is standing on a mountain. The people of God have been conquered by the Romans and there is sin seemingly everywhere. The immorality seems to be running wild and the people of God are longing for things to change. They are now in a different kind of bondage. And God the Son stands on that mountain giving the blessings of the New Covenant. Jesus declares to these people who they are and the great blessings of being God’s people. They think that they are poor and scraping to get by. Jesus tells them that theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. The reality of it all is much different. They are incredibly wealthy.

In Isaiah 61:1-3, Isaiah gave a message of good news to the poor. It was a proclamation of the “year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn”. Christ has come and he stands on this mountain giving the good news to the poor. And in a rather paradoxical manner shows them that their poverty is really wealth in His Kingdom. When Isaiah states to us that this is concerning the “year of the Lord’s favor”, we understand that there is a two-fold application to the Beatitudes. First, Jesus has come and it is the “year of the Lord’s favor”. Second, the ultimate fulfillment of this will be in the New Heavens and New Earth. Eternity will be when we see the fullness of these blessings, though we will get to enjoy them in a great way now.

A Note About Covenants

God has worked throughout history in covenants. He made a covenant with Adam and Eve. He made a covenant with Noah. He made a salvific covenant with Abraham. In fact, our faith in Christ brings us into this covenant with Abraham. God made a covenant at Mt. Sinai with Moses and the Ten Commandments. What then is a covenant?

There are a few different definitions of a covenant. A covenant, in its most basic sense, is an oath-bound relationship between two or more people or groups of people. Marriage is a covenant. We also have other covenants that we have to be a part of as people today. A divine covenant, a covenant between God and people is a little different than the covenants that we are accustomed to today.

In a divine covenant, God is the one who sets the relationship and the boundaries of the relationship. In these covenants, God would lay out the conditions for blessings and the conditions for curses. He would also state what the blessings would be and what the curses would be.

Here, Jesus is going to stand up and deliver the blessings of being in covenant with Him. The blessings are both for this life and the life to come, or eternal life.

Consider this before we look at the blessings that Jesus gave. Who are these blessings for?

These blessings are for God’s people, not those outside of faith in Christ. If you are a believer then these blessings are for you. If you are not a believer then they are not.

The good news is that Christ came to Earth and accomplished your salvation by living a perfect life, dying on the cross, and rising from the dead three days later. If you read the blessings of Matthew 5:1-12 and desire to have the blessings of Christ’s Kingdom then trust in Him and go to church and be a part of God’s people.

R. Dwain Minor