Is the new testament, as some in the body of Christ believe, disconnected from it's Hebrew roots? Jesus was a Jewish rabbi who taught rabbi stuff in a rabbi way. The hearers of his words were reminded of the scriptures as they knew them. Yeshua was not teaching something new. He brought the Torah to its fulfillment.
“Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.”
Matt 5 CJB
Many sermons preach the sermon on the plain, trying to discern the meaning. However, I believe Jesus was using material familiar to his audience. Do the beatitude exist in the Jewish scriptures? Alternatively, were they a well-developed concept familiar to the multitudes who thronged at Yeshua's feet? Consider the following passages.
Poor in Spirit:
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
If you read the entirety of those passages, the psalmist and Isaiah develop an entire theology of what it means to be "poor in spirit" and how God responds. Moreover, if God comes to your rescue, It's safe to say you are blessed.
Those who thirst and are hungry:
For he satisfies the longing soul,
moreover, the hungry soul he fills with good things
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness, and trust forever.
Again, the remainder of those passages spells out how God satisfies the longing soul. When Jesus spoke these words, the listeners were hungry and thirsty for an understanding of the Torah that brought them back to a relationship with YHWH.
What about the mournful? The scripture gives much thought to the tears of the righteous. David even writes poetry that shows a most tender creator.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence
Let's consider the hated and persecuted; did second century Jews have a perspective on persecution. The Jews were under Roman control, and their faith in YHWH kept them at odds with their oppressors.
Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
but let me not be dismayed;
bring upon them the day of disaster;
destroy them with double destruction
Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
The prophets throughout the old testament were hated. They were killed, rejected, and torn from their homes, and yet they believed, with all of their heart, that YHWH was worth it. Jesus merely picked up these ideas suggesting he was the object of their hope and righteousness.
The beatitudes are a brilliant synopsis of a vast body of material from the Hebrew scriptures. They overflow with meaning and collective history of Gods people. However, to say they are new? There is nothing new under the sun, even the beatitudes.
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