Matthew 5; Matthew 5: 3-12
When forces collide, enormous change can happen. Scientists say that the Himalayas were formed when the Indian tectonic plate collided with the Eurasian plate. We saw (tragically) today the resulting earthquake in Turkey and Syria as the Arabian and Eurasian plates pushed on each other.
Similarly, when thoughts collide, enormous change can happen. That's what occurred when Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. He went up against conventional wisdom in that era and still goes against conventional wisdom today, telling us God's perspective on life, morality, relationships and more.
In my Himalayas of the New Testament podcast series, covering the highest thoughts in the latter part of the Bible, I am spending three months on the Sermon on the Mount. Frankly, I could take a year to pick it apart verse by verse, but instead, I have selected the most famous passages and am sharing it in chapters. Matthew 5 is the first of the three chapters of the Sermon on the Mount, discussed in the February podcast. Matthew 6 and 7 will follow in March and April. These three chapters are why I've entitled this podcast sequence, "The Mountain with Three Peaks," similar to the Himalayan mountain Lhotse pictured in this blog.
My focus this month is on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 3-12), the series of paradoxical statements at the outset of Jesus' sermon, all starting with the phrase, "Blessed are..." By paradoxical, I mean that Jesus proclaims something opposite of conventional wisdom. In his reckoning, you are blessed when you are poor in spirit, when you mourn, when you are persecuted, when you seek righteousness. The mighty and arrogant are not blessed; instead, it is the meek, the merciful, the pure, the peacemakers.
Jesus collides with the world's wisdom that focuses on possessions, happiness, status, wealth and power. In doing so, He gives us a different set of values to pursue.
This line of thinking is emblematic of the entire Sermon on the Mount. If you have not read it start to finish (and perhaps you have but need a refresher), I urge you to study it during the three months of this podcast series. People have told you things about Jesus's teachings, but here, you'll read for yourself His "Constitution," what matters to Him most, how He wants his followers to act, and how we need to go "next-level" in our goodness to align with His commands. You'll come away realizing that following rules of morality are less important than how we treat other people; that optics are less important than humility; that in doing the little things right, we glorify God.
The February podcast on Matthew 5 is now available on Apple and on Spotify; search for "Cecil Taylor Monthly Podcasts." It is also available on Podbean at https://ceciltaylorministries.podbean.com/.