The Sermon on the Mount is often referred to as a “Recipe For Happiness Through Christian Beliefs.” Also known as the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount has earned the title of “Be-Attitudes” from many Christians. It is the longest of Jesus’ teachings found in the Bible.
Here is an Overview of the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, covering the first 12 verses of Matthew 5.
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Depending on which Bible version you use, the word “Blessed” may be used, or the word “Happy” may be used.
Whichever you choose, whether you are Blessed or Happy is often a question of Attitude. Watch any of the Nick Vujicic videos on this website and that becomes apparent. If life knocks you over and you feel you can not get back up again – watch this video. Nick has no arms, no legs – but makes a living as a Motivational Speaker and is certainly one of my hero’s. In our “instant-everything, gotta-have-it-now” world, it is easy to overlook the Blessings of being able to walk, talk, see, hear, have a roof over our heads, food on the table, etc.
If we are tuned into the world’s values, we are probably not feeling happy or blessed because advertisers and our culture generally makes us feel unhappy because of what we do not have.
If we are tuned into Christian values, we should feel happy and blessed, because we are focused on what we do have.
In difficult times whether we are focused on what we have or what we have lost (or do not have) can quite literally be the difference between life and death.
One of the big differences between “Blessed” and “Happy” I noticed when I worked on Overseas Aid Programs in the Pacific. Many Expat workers, on big salaries, were truly blessed but very unhappy. Some had investment properties, share portfolio’s etc – but were always stressing about the difficulties of managing their wealth. The local Pacific Islanders survived on food they could grow and fish they could catch – yet were truly happy because they “counted their blessings.” Again, the secret is focus.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” is often understood to refer to the Holy Spirit, rather than an individual’s spirit. My personal view is that those who debate which it is miss the point. My view is that when our human spirits are down the fastest way up is harnessing the power of the Holy Spirit and thus lifting our personal spirit.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” is a part of the Sermon on the Mount that is often misunderstood. In 2012, meek is synonymous with weak. In Jesus’ time, it was synonymous with humble. One of the signs of true greatness is that is usually accompanied by humility.
The Sermon on the Mount then goes on to the Teachings of Jesus, which we will will cover individually. The Lord’s Prayer is also part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6, v9-13).