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Matthew 5:1-16 – The Beatitudes-You Are Salt and Light

Summary

Jesus' teaching begins with the announcement of God's blessing in response to which it is fitting to rejoice and, like salt and light, let this blessing of God be seen in good works that give glory to the Father in heaven.

Analysis

Blessing is a favorite word of Matthew, as a quick concordance search will reveal. It is thus significant both for the Sermon and for the whole of Matthew's Gospel that Jesus begins with this theme. Blessing has to do with how the Gospel understands the kingdom of heaven. Blessing is not first of all a program to fulfill, but a rehearsing of the promises of God that in the repetitive refrains are meant to be seen as touching and shaping all areas of life. God's blessing is as much a part of the essence of God's people as saltiness and illumination are part of the essence of what it means to be salt and light. "In the same way" (5:16), those who are blessed will show forth that blessing in good works that give glory to God.

Matthew 5:1-16

The Beatitudes

5When Jesus* saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely* on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

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10 February 2011

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