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Grand Reversals (1 of 12)
Series: Counter-Cultural Christianity
I have always been amused by oxymorons. An oxymoron is a combination of contradictory words that shouldn't be linked together. Let me offer a few examples: airline food, brotherly love, Hell's Angels, jumbo shrimp, pretty ugly, rap music, sensitive guy, and short sermon. Oxymorons are common in everyday speech and in the Scriptures. This is especially true when Jesus is speaking. Initially, we may be perplexed by Jesus' oxymorons, but rather quickly we will see that His words are life. In Matt 5:1-12, we kick off our series "Counter-Cultural Christianity." This series walks through the Sermon on the Mount—the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher who has ever lived. But before we consider Jesus' words, we need to pay careful attention to Matthew's introduction in 5:1-2. "When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them." These verses make it clear that Jesus intentionally distanced Himself from the crowds that had been following Him. He escaped by climbing up on a mountainside and sitting down. The disciples then came up the mountainside to listen to Jesus and He taught "them." Jesus is preparing His disciples for leadership in His future kingdom.
Before we launch into Jesus' sermon, several initial observations are necessary. (1) These verses are popularly knows as "the beatitudes." This English word "beatitude" implies that these verses are attitudes; however, the word "beatitude" is derived from the Latin term beatus that means "blessed." It is only a coincidence of the English language that the idea of "be-attitudes" or "attitudes of being" is suggested by the Latin word for blessing. (2) Each of these eight beatitudes begins with a timeless promise of reward. This is indicated by the word "blessed" (makarios). In this context, the prima ...
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