This Is What it Really Means to Be Blessed (A Bible Study on Matthew 5:1-10)
This week, Nicole and her friend Rev. Rachel dive into Matthew 5 together and discuss the implications of the greatest sermon ever told.
For now, the invitation is just to read the Sermon of the Mount. Let it sit with you. Don’t worry about perfect understanding. Over the coming weeks, we will dive deep and unlock interpretation and application.
Want more from Nicole? Sign up for Nicole’s free newsletter: nicoleunice.com/realtalk
WHAT IS THE BACKSTORY?
Let’s set the context for the sermon of the mount. What happens right before chapter 5? (How to Study the Bible Tip) When you don’t understand a phrase in scripture, often you can use cross references to get a better sense of what is going on.
Matthew 4:23: “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Jesus is sharing the good news of the kingdom, and how you access that kingdom. He is embodying it before he explains it. He is reversing everything that sin and death have done by going into these villages and healing the sick. He is giving people back whole life in this action, and then he switches to teaching about what full life looks like in him.
Matthew is writing to Jews. He is building directly on important Old Testament references. The cross-references will help you interpret Matthew correctly!
The listeners would have made connections between what Jesus was preaching and their knowledge of Moses’ law and the themes of the Prophets. The first words out of his mouth would have alluded to the Psalms. So the whole of the Old Testament – the Law, the Prophets and the Wisdom writings – are all packed in.
Read Psalm 1 as a key connection to what it means to be blessed in the kingdom of God.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Blessed – clearly, blessed means something different here than it does in our current, Instagram hashtag way of describing it. In Psalm 1, the Hebrew word for blessed means going the right way. We are blessed when we are going the right direction into the kingdom of God.
Jesus reframes what it means to go the right way. The grace and sweetness of Jesus’ assurance: Jesus’ calling is pointing to an attitude of the heart more than an action step.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
The invitation of the beatitudes: don’t turn away from God when you’re weary, worn and broken.
We want to avoid the disposition of desperation, but that is where Jesus meets us.
Rev. Rachel Toone joined Montreat College in July 2018 as the Dean of Spiritual Formation. She holds a B.A. in Theology from Whitworth University, an MDiv. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and she is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Trinity School for Ministry. Rev. Toone is an ordained teaching elder by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. When she is not working, Rev. Toone enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading old books.
Nicole’s Book: Help My Bible Is Alive!
Ask Nicole a Bible study question: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole has spent twenty years serving the local church, first in student ministry (where she’s never lost her love of a great group game) and then leading start-ups of all kinds, from leadership development to capital campaigns. She now teaches and consults with churches and ministries to strengthen their stories and cut through confusion to discover the next right steps for success.