I remember my first sermon. It was short.
The nervousness trembled my voice and hands as I stood before my church family and taught from Scripture. The topic was worry. The point was simple — don’t worry.
A pastor never forgets his first sermon. I couldn’t tell you what I preached last year and I’d struggle to recount what I preached last month, but I can recall the details of that first sermon. Not because it was powerful, but because it was first. It marked the beginning of the calling God placed on my life.
Jesus’ first sermon was powerful. Not only did it mark the beginning of his public ministry, but Jesus’ first sermon also turned the world upside down. Or did He turn the world right-side up?
Jesus’ first sermon is recorded for us in Matthew 5. It’s commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. That’s the “churchy” way of saying Jesus preached on the side of a mountain.
Read His introduction.
“He began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:2-11
Jesus spends no time warming up the crowd. He doesn’t lead with a moving story. He jumps right past the attention grabber and pursues the heart of people.
Jesus doesn’t see the crowd. He sees every face and He knows every name. He knows exactly what each person’s struggle is. He knows their insecurities and fears. He sees the scars, the hurt, and the pain. He knows their hearts.
Jesus doesn’t speak to the crowd. He speaks to their hearts.
I’d like to make three short observations about Jesus’ first sermon.
Blessing is pursuable.
Do you want to live a blessed life? I sure hope so! Pursuing blessings is not an unrighteous endeavor. Jesus’ first sermon tells us where we can find blessings.
We should pursue blessing. But we should pursue it on Jesus’ terms, not our terms.
Blessing is attainable.
Some people think it’s impossible to actually live a blessed life. As if the blessed life is the carrot on a stick — always out of reach. Jesus tells us blessing is attainable. You won’t find it in power, prestige, popularity, or prosperity.
Go back and read the sermon again. True blessing is attained through humility, being comforted by God, living pure, seeking peace, and hungering for righteousness.
Blessing is invaluable.
Once you find the blessed life that Jesus describes, there’s no going back. There’s no regret. There’s wishing things had been different.
It’s a small earthly taste of what eternity will be like. And that…is invaluable.
Are you living a blessed life? Are you walking in humility, pursuing peace, and craving righteousness?
Father, we pray for your blessing on our lives. We ask that you would strengthen us to pursue blessing on your terms. Help us to see the areas of our lives that are already blessed and be thankful for them. Give us eyes to see the areas that we need to adjust to your standard. May we live in your grace, by your grace, and grow in grace. In Jesus’s name, Amen!