This year we are covering the four Gospel Accounts together in chronological order.
In the previous post we covered Matthew 4:23-25. Here was the conclusion:
Jesus' fame grew to the point that great multitudes of people came from all over to Jesus. This set the context for Jesus to be able to directly teach people.
"1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him:
2 and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying,"
(While today's passage came from Matthew's Gospel Account, we must remember that so far in our study of the four Gospel Accounts in chronological order, we have not seen that Matthew was called to be a disciple. Consequently, there is some debate as to the timeframe of the following chapters from Matthew. Some scholars place these chapters much later during Jesus' Ministry. However, I believe Matthew chapters 5 through 7 were early in Jesus' Ministry because after confrontations with the Pharisees, Jesus only taught in parables. The most striking aspect of these three chapters from Matthew's Gospel Account was that Jesus taught directly through principles. I believe the core of what Jesus taught was contained in these three chapters...and that the rest of Jesus' time on earth was spent teaching the same principles indirectly through parables.)
(During the Matthew Series, we covered these chapters in detail. Remember, the purpose of this year's Series is to show the chronology and the role of each passage relative to the occurrence of other passages. For the rest of this Series, with each post I will provide a link to the associated Matthew Series post for those who want to go in depth with each passage. For example, here is the link to the Matthew Series for today's post: Matthew 5:1-12.)
(Jesus began His direct Teaching of principles with a "ladder of Christian Maturity". People know this section of Jesus' Premiere Teaching as "The Beattitudes". Each verse required the person to be more mature than the previous level. Let's look at the first three "Beattitudes"...)
"3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
(The first level stated blessed are the poor in spirit. This meant the humble...those willing to let God direct their actions...which is Biblical Grace. This is the minimum level of Christian Maturity because it is the minimum level needed for Salvation: Grace...allowing God to direct your actions instead of being the source of your righteousness which is really allowing your Damage/Tradition to direct your actions.)
(The second level stated blessed are the ones that mourn...that are humble enough to show their most private emotions. Again, those who are able to mourn are able to be Aware of their Damage/Tradition.)
(The third level stated blessed are those who are meek...who are humble enough to not demand their own way. The meek don't focus on the short-term, demand their own way, or take out their own justice. The meek focus Long Term and not act according to their Damage/Tradition.)
(Each level required more maturity than the previous level. Each level would not be possible unless the previous level was accomplished. How would a person be meek and not have a humble spirit and/or Unaware of their private emotions. Each of the three levels fits within Stage One of Spiritual Maturity.)
"6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
(Verse 6 alluded to Grace...God's Righteousness filling up the individual and flowing through him. Verse 7 alluded to Grace...NOT judging people in our own flesh, but allowing God to extend mercy through us. Verse 8 could ONLY be due to Grace. Each of the three levels fits within Stage Two of Spiritual Maturity.)
"9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
(Verse 9 stated we are Blessed if we are able to make peace. We have seen, this meant harmonize people. The only way we can harmonize two people who are confrontational and emotional is if we keep access to 95% of our conscious brain so we can operate in Biblical Grace. This benefits at least two others. If we are able to let God flow through us to bring others in harmony with each other, we shall be called sons of God.)
(Verse 10 stated that we are Blessed if we are persecuted BECAUSE God is flowing through us...for Righteousness' sake...when God is flowing through us in Biblical Grace.)
(Both of these verses involve doing God's Will and receiving the highest acclaim possible: Salvation...being called a son of God in the kingdom of heaven. Each of these two levels fits within Stage Three of Spiritual Maturity.)
(Ed Mabrie made a great point in the comments section of this post. This maturity ladder began with "kingdom of heaven" being the benefit...and now here near the end of the list kingdom of heaven was listed again. I believe this ought to tell mature believers there is no "finish line"...believers never reach a level on earth where they don't have to grow or deal with problems. Notice, this isn't the end of the ladder. Jesus continued...and the next level was an effect of being persecuted...)
"11 Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you."
(When you are a Believer, you are willfully choosing to be directed by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. This is a choice. We have seen this is Biblical Grace. However, what you are choosing is to have people reproach, persecute, and say all manner of evil against you falsely. Notice, Jesus said to REJOICE AND BE EXCEEDING GLAD when this happens. WHY? Because GREAT is your REWARD in Heaven. Reward is the ultimate level of maturity for believers!)
(The REWARD isn't Salvation...otherwise people who don't do this aren't saved. Besides, we saw the Beattitudes linked to Stage Three concerned Salvation. Notice, Jesus then added another reason. This reason compared Believers to the Prophets...people who willfully chose to confront others to the point of being killed. This level fit within Stage Four of Spiritual Maturity.)
Jesus began His direct Teaching presentation with a "ladder of maturity" for Christians.