Our final stop for the day was at a possible location for where the Beatitudes were given. We did not go to the traditional Catholic Church, but rather took a walk to a serene location on a hillside to sit and read about the sermon on the mount.
While we were walking to the designated place, all 40 of us were walking and talking. I was personally in an interesting conversation about the fruit that would be indigenous to Israel. Strange, I know. But the point is that I was engrossed in the conversation as I walked and I have absolutely no idea what the other pockets of people from our group were talking about.
For the first time I understood how the disciples could have been talking among themselves as they were walking together without anyone else knowing about the conversation.
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. – Mark 9:33-34, ESV
By the time that Jesus delivers the Beatitudes, he has at least 72 disciples, and he is now calling 12 as apostles.
His sermon on the mount is the beginning of his fifth phase of ministry. He is moving from Expanded Outreach to Leadership Multiplication. He is beginning to really pour into the twelve.
He has a big crowd, and a lot of disciples, but this message on the mount is directed to his disciples -especially to the 12.
He had selected his twelve disciples after a night of prayer because they were proven followers who had been waking with him for months. With the message of the Beatitudes, he is preparing them for hardship, which was just around the corner… only months away. He was also reminding them of the prize, that is, the fact that the hardships in this life are nothing compared to the promise of the life to come!
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:2-12, ESV