Yesterday, I preached a message based on the first twelve verses of Matthew 5. They make up what we call the Beatitudes. There was something I wanted to remind the congregation that I forgot to mention.
It was the unoriginality of the beatitudes. We often hype the message of Jesus as something completely new. Indeed, the kingdom of God was manifesting itself in a new way in Jesus. But when we listen to him, we often hear him repeating what we, as God’s people, already know.
There are times he interprets what we’ve heard. There are other times he turns what we thought we knew on its head. Many Christians miss a lot of that. We aren’t as familiar with the Hebrew Bible as Jesus obviously was.
So, it might surprise us to realize so much of what Jesus taught comes from scripture. The Beatitudes, for example, are not new. They were how Jesus began his sermon to remind people of God’s care and priorities.
Read through them and then consider some of these words we read in Psalm 37. Do not fret because of the wicked. Do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. Those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. The meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. The Lord upholds the righteous.
Do you see it? Did you notice the parallels? That this is a sermon Jesus “went up on a mountainside” to give also deepens those connections. It ties him to Moses.
Now, none of that lessens what Jesus said. It reinforces what God has already said. It helps us look to notice how Jesus would fulfill what God already said. We get to discover how Jesus would do that.
At the onset of his ministry, Jesus went about “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23). And one of his first priorities was to ensure the people. Ensure them that God was now doubling down on what had always been promised. So, we do not fret because we are blessed.