JESUS MAFA. The Sermon on the Mount, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn.
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Matthew 5:1-20 Commentary
by Gerald C. Liu
By the time the author of Matthew recounts the Beatitudes, half of a century had passed since Jesus changed the world in his early thirties.
Source material for the Gospel of Matthew seems to suggest a date of composition between 80 and 90 CE. So, how do preachers preach the Beatitudes now that they sit millennia away?
Preachers could start with more looking back and around and examine parallels found in Mark 3:1-13a, 9:49-50, and Luke 6:17-23, 14:34-35, 8:16, and 16:16-17 that complement the occasion and the assurance of the verses from Matthew. Those touchpoints reiterate the importance of the Beatitudes. Yet they do not show how the Beatitudes maintain their believability as they endure across time. With little assistance from the other synoptics, preachers must carefully consider how to telescope from the verses of Matthew to our time with faithful language and insights.
The first verse of Matthew 5 places Jesus at altitude and in a seated posture of teaching. Jesus is like a new Moses, granting new instructions from God:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, ...
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2018-19 Readings (Year 1)
2018-19 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 346: Beatitudes
January 27, 2019
Podcast on Matthew 5:1-20, the Narrative Lectionary readings for Jan. 27, 2019 (Beatitudes) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.