On Matthew 5 (Part 1)

Part of a series on N.T. Wright's Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15

Big Takeaway

Jesus' revolution against evil has already joined heaven and earth forever. The way we behave and live, now, should reflect that fact.

On The Beatitudes

"The life of heaven - the life of the realm where God is already king - is to become the life of the world, transforming the present 'earth' into the place of beauty and delight that God always intended. And those who follow Jesus are to being to live by this rule here and now." - N.T. Wright

  • Those who live in the present (the humble, the poor in spirit, the mourners, and the peacemakers) in a way that will make sense in God's promised future (heaven and earth joined together for eternity); should celebrate, rejoice and be happy.
  • The ultimate point of Jesus spelling these beatitudes ('blessings') out is to announce God's new covenant, just as God did with Israel upon their arrival at the border of the promised land. (Deut 28)
  • Jesus is the arrival of God's promised future in the present. To call the humble, the poor in spirit, the mourners, and the peacemakers blessed is to usher in the upside down kingdom or rather it is Jesus finally setting things right side up.

On Fulfilling The Law

"First, he had to show the Jews of his day that this movement really was the fulfillment of all that Israel had believed and longed for. Second, he had to show that he and his followers really were living by (and also dying by) the new way he was announcing." - N.T. Wright

  • Jesus' movement was deeply revolutionary without ever abandoning the fulfillment of all that Israel had believed and longed for. He did not sacrifice one for the other.
  • God called Israel, and now us, to be a light not simply to show up evil but to help others that are stumbling around in the dark.
  • We, as followers of God, must not fall in to the trap of living like everybody else. Our hearts and mind are to be transformed so that our heartfelt keeping of God's laws would serve as a sign to others to follow and worship Him.