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The Beatitudes – Who Was Jesus Speaking To? (by Stephen Simpson)

Matthew 5:1-12 ESV

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Crowds
When studying The Beatitudes it is important to consider who Jesus was speaking to. There were most likely thousands of people following Jesus. Remember where we are in the life of Christ. Jesus has already visited Jerusalem and driven the moneychangers out of the temple. He has already met with Nicodemus. He has begun His ministry of healing and teaching throughout Galilee. He has already selected and specifically chosen his twelve disciples. He has huge throngs of people following Him. These are the crowds that are listening to His message. The message that they heard was unlike anything they could have imagined. It was definitely not what they wanted to hear.

For just a moment, imagine the thoughts of those that were in the crowd. They just watched Jesus sit down. They understood that He had just taken the position of a teacher. What do you think they expected Him to teach? They were looking for Him to overthrow Rome. They were expecting their political fortunes to begin changing. They thought that Jesus was the key to a better life for all of them. Ironically, Jesus was the key to a better life for them – just not in the way that they thought. They thought that the better life would come through external change, but Jesus provided a better life through internal change.

The crowd expected to hear “Cursed are the Romans” or “Cursed are the Pharisees.” Instead they got ‘Blessed…” They expected “Blessed are the Jews,” but instead they got “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

As we study The Beatitudes, we must understand how shocking and revolutionary this sermon must have been. This was no feel-good, made for TV, “God just wants you to be happy” sermon. This was a hard hitting, full of authority, and powerfully convicting message delivered by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Other Posts in this series:

  1. The Secret to True Happiness
  2. Who Was Jesus Speaking To?
  3. How Poor Is Your Spirit?
  4. What Makes You Mourn?
  5. How Meek Are You?
  6. Are You Satisfied?
  7. Blessed Are the Merciful
  8. Do You Have Mixed Motives?
  9. Be a Peacemaker – Preach the Gospel!
  10. Happy are Those Who Suffer