Over the last few months the Lord has called our congregation to focus on one of Yeshua’s greatest teachings -- the Sermon on the Mount. When Yeshua saw the multitudes, He went up on a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Most people believe this is the place known today in Israel as the Mount of Beatitudes which has a natural amphitheater. As the people gathered, Yeshua began teaching.
At that time, the people had been exposed to the teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees. But Yeshua taught a totally different message: "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." The multitudes wanted to understand what exactly is the kingdom of God, and who will enter it.
Yeshua's message was revolutionary and it would turn their lives around. Yeshua spoke of a heavenly kingdom with heavenly principles that He wants us to live by. In this kingdom, there is a King.
Along with His spoken words, Yeshua also healed all who came to Him. The people saw the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrated after His preaching of the message of repentance -- something which the scribes and Pharisees could not do.
Yeshua’s Sermon on the Mount teaches us how we are to act in the kingdom of God. What is the blessing that comes when we understand and live according to the principles of the kingdom of God?
In Matthew 5, Yeshua says nine times, "Blessed.” In Hebrew, the word is "Ashrei," meaning “blessed, happy, glad, or satisfied.” Yeshua was teaching the people what it means to be truly blessed. It is significant to note that all the characteristics that Yeshua lists in these verses are internal values: poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness' sake. Yet how many people today are working on how they look or what they have externally? Here Yeshua is talking about a change that needs to happen on the inside. The emphasis is not on what you do, but on what is on the inside.
By God's grace, may we let Him make the changes on the inside that He wants to bring forth in us. Spend time soaking in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, and ask Him to examine your heart. If there is something you need to repent of, do it! He is faithful to forgive. If you want to be “salt and light,” be ready to face the truth of Yeshua's teaching, and ask God to change you on the inside. May we all be true disciples, “salt and light” -- provoking those around us to thirst for righteousness, as we shine His light brightly in this present generation.
-- Dani Sayag