When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after that, he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit…’ (Mt. 5:1-3)
We had just finished a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We gathered at the bottom of a hill where Jesus probably gave the Sermon on the Mount. I lay down in the grass, closed my eyes, and listened to the sermon being read. I tried to visualize those who first heard Jesus’ words. It must have sounded like He had just been talking to God—which, of course, He had.
Jesus began the sermon with a series of Beatitudes, which turned the world upside down—or perhaps I should say right side up.
Jesus proceeded to give those disciples a spectacular mission to save the world through being salt to prevent rot and light to scatter the darkness.
As Jesus was speaking to the people on this mount, they knew they had never heard anyone speak with such clarity, authority, and power. It was clear that Jesus wanted both outward observance of the law and inner transformation.
Listening to Jesus’ sermon being read, I felt at peace and electrified. His words were both comforting and disconcerting. His words demanded that I look at my life in radically different ways. His words reignited my conviction to bear witness to Jesus in a world that desperately needs to know Him.
I encourage you to find a quiet time. As you watch the video below, try to visualize that you’re part of the crowd. Watch the reactions of those around you. Pay careful attention to your reactions. Keep on praying until you hear Jesus speaking directly to you. Trust that when you hear Jesus speaking, you are hearing the voice of God.
You will know you are hearing Jesus speak when you feel both at peace and electrified, comforted, and challenged. When you feel both convicted to change and to serve, trust that Jesus has just brought you into the most important sermon ever given.
- When have you been “poor in spirit?” During those times, did you ever feel blessed with God’s peace, strength, courage, or love? If so, how?
- When you indeed felt “poor in spirit,” what did you learn about yourself and God, and how did you grow or change?
- After reading or hearing the sermon, what do you hear Jesus saying to you? What could He be asking you to do? How have you been comforted? How have you been challenged?