The Lord God of Israel is hungry for fruit. He calls upon His workers to branch out more than they are doing. He desires them to make the world their field of labour rather than to work only for our churches. The apostle Paul went from place to place, preaching the truth to those in the darkness of error. He laboured for a year and six months at Corinth, and proved the divine character of his mission by raising up a flourishing church, composed of Jews and Gentiles. Christ never confined His labours to one place. The towns and cities of Palestine resounded with the truths that fell from His lips.
The Sermon on the Mount is heaven's benediction to the world, a voice from the throne of God. It was given to mankind to be to them the law of duty and the light of heaven, their hope and consolation in despondency. Here the Prince of preachers, the Master Teacher, utters the words that the Father gave Him to speak.
The Beatitudes are Christ's greeting, not only to those who believe, but to the whole human family. He seems to have forgotten for a moment that He is in the world, not in heaven; and He uses the familiar salutation of the world of light. Blessings flow from His lips as the gushing forth of a long-sealed current of rich life.
Christ leaves us in no doubt as to the traits of character that He will always recognize and bless. From the ambitious favourites of the world He turns to those whom they disown, pronouncing all blessed who receive His light and life. To the poor in spirit, the meek, the lowly, the sorrowful, the despised, the persecuted, He opens His arms of refuge, saying: "Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
Christ can look on the misery of the world without a shade of sorrow for having created man. In the human heart He sees more than sin, more than misery. In His infinite wisdom and love He sees man's possibilities, the height to which he may attain. He knows that, even though human beings have abused their mercies and destroyed their God-given dignity, yet the Creator is to be glorified in their redemption.
The Sermon on the Mount is an example of how we are to teach. What pains Christ has taken to make mysteries no longer mysteries, but plain, simple truths! There is in His instruction nothing vague, nothing hard to understand.
"He opened His mouth, and taught them." Matthew 5:2. His words were spoken in no whispered tones, nor was His utterance harsh and disagreeable. He spoke with clearness and emphasis, with solemn, convincing force.
"And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these
sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." Matthew 7:28, 29.
An earnest, prayerful study of the Sermon on the Mount will prepare us to proclaim the truth, to give to others the light we have received. We are first to take heed to ourselves, receiving with humble hearts the principles of truth and working them out in perfect obedience. This will bring joy and peace. Thus we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, and we grow strong in His strength. Our lives are assimilated to His life. Our spirit, our inclinations, our habits, are conformed to the will of Him of whom God declared: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17.
Throughout all time the words that Christ spoke from the mount of Beatitudes will retain their power. Every sentence is a jewel from the treasure house of truth. The principles enunciated in this discourse are for all ages and for all classes of men. With divine energy Christ expressed His faith and hope as He pointed out class after class as blessed because of having formed righteous characters. Living the life of the Life-giver, through faith in Him, everyone can reach the standard held up in His words. Is not such an attainment worth lifelong, untiring effort?