Interpreting the Sermon on the Mount: Nursing discussion
The passage of choice is Mathew 5:3-12, which is the sermon on the mount. I chose this passage because it enlightens me on the kind of love and humility that Jesus presents to Christians. They are the highest form of Jesus’ teachings about spirituality and love. As a young Christian, these teachings are the guiding principles in my journey. As simple as they are, most people ignore them, but I chose to live by them since they are the epitome of Christian spirituality.
Details of the passage
First, the sentences used in the sermon on the mount verse are compound sentences. They are made up of two independent clauses which are separated by a comma. For example, “blessed are the poor in spirit” is an independent clause which is connected to another independent clause “for there is the kingdom of heaven” (Mathew 5:3). Second, the verses are addressed in the third person second point of view. For instance, “…for they will be comforted” (Mathew 5:4). Thirdly, the sermon is delivered in a theological or divine passive voice. Every beatitude begins with the phrase “blessed…” and the second part of the sentence also contains a phrase in the passive voice, that is, “…for they will be shown mercy” (Mathew 5:7).
Several types of nouns have been used throughout this passage. There are proper and common nouns used. The proper nouns used include “God” and “Kingdom of heaven”. The common nouns used include “earth” and “spirit.” There are also countable and uncountable nouns. For instance, “peacemakers” is countable while “righteousness id uncountable”. The audience has been collectively addressed, implying the use of collective nouns. When Jesus says “the poor in spirit”, “the merciful”, “those who mourn” etc. he is referring to a group of people with these characteristics. Additionally, there is the use of concrete and abstract nouns. For instance, “the kingdom of heaven” and “pure in heart” are abstract nouns. However, “peacemakers” and “the merciful” are concrete nouns.
Various types of verbs have been used. Main verbs have been used majorly in the first part of each sentence. For example, in the sentence “…those who mourn” “mourn” is a main verb. Helping verbs have been used in several instances to support the main verb and convey a meaningful message. For example, in the sentence “blessed are the poor in spirit” “are” is the helping verb, and it supports the main verb “blessed”. There is also regular use of the auxiliary verb “will” throughout the passage.
Throughout the passage, the collective nouns represent the descriptors for certain group of people. For example, when Jesus says “those who mourn”, he is referring to those who are physically and spiritually bereaved. Also, when he says “the peacemakers”, he is referring to those who make efforts to ensure peaceful co-existence among people, those who bring calm in the midst of chaos. Another descriptor that has been used is “the kingdom of heaven”. This phrase has been used figuratively to represent the enjoyment of the goodness of the fruits and gifts of the holy spirit, as a result of abiding by the teachings of Jesus.
The historical-cultural context
In his teachings, there are three significantly honorable and esteemed behaviors that Jesus describes. These behaviors include being poor, mourning, and hungering. According to Pilch (2015), that status of being poor is a temporary one, and not related to the economic status. and in this less honorable state, one must seek to regain honor. Therefore, “poor” is used to refer to a revolving class of people, that why it is often associated with the widow and the orphans in the bible (Pilch, 2015). In the bible, these positions were not permanent as widows would remarry, and orphans would be adopted into extended families. Those who lost social status were culturally allowed to regain it. In another context, the poor implies those who are materially impoverished. It is clear that the pious Israelites who inherited the land are the majority of those who became followers of Christ. Therefore, they were the ones being addressed when Jesus says that they will inherit the earth.
The immediate context
The beatitudes come before the sermon on the mount, which is a group of spiritual teachings given by Jesus. It marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to the people. Jesus announces the beginning of his ministry by declaring “repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Mathew 4:17). In verses 18 to 22 he calls his first disciples who were fishermen, to become fishers of men. He goes ahead to demonstrate what being fishers of men is like by spreading the gospel of the Lord and performing miracles, and healing people from illnesses (Mathew 24:23-25). The presence of the heavenly kingdom is liberating (Shively, 2011). Jesus then climbs a mountain to address a crowd that is so eager to hear from him. He sits down as a teacher would and passes these teachings to them.
The main takeaway f this discussion comes from the verse “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Peacemakers refers to those who coexist peacefully with others, and make effort to promote peace among human beings, and between God and man. One of the ways of promoting peaceful coexistence between God and man is through godly works, which is an expression of God’s love. It is through godly works that we can harness our God-given talents and abilities to maintain peace where it is existing and restore it, where it is absent.
Pilch J. John. (2015). Historical Cultural Context. Solemnity of All Saints. Retrieved from https://liturgy.slu.edu/AllSaints2015/theword_cultural.html
Testament, O. (2015). The holy bible.
Shively Elizabeth. (2011). Commentary on Mathew 5:1-12. Retrieved from https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=863
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