3. Evaluate the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 and analyze Jesus’ words defining what the critical issue was at stake
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the first sermons that Jesus preached to His disciples. It was Jesus’ custom to teach his disciples in the ways that they should walk in and teach to others. Large crowds gathered around Jesus because of the numerous benefits they were likely to get. This included healing, provision, forgiveness and the word. At this juncture, he sought to challenge his followers by revealing to them the characters that would qualify them to be his true followers (Klein, Blomberg & Hubbard, 2004). The beatitudes in the book of Mathew 5: 1-12, one message comes clear; it is a call for humility and selfless living. The ministry of Jesus was that of denying himself and considering others, this is what he considered true discipleship. The beatitudes emphasize on the need of being mindful of others at their expense (Randolph, 2006). According to the kingdom principle, satisfaction, which is defined by the blessings is derived when a person learn to show good to others. All the beatitudes begin with ‘blessed’ and followed by an assignment they have to do. The assignment is a service to the other party, which will ultimately unlock blessings. Jesus recognized that that by behaving responsibly to others, a person will be setting standards, which will ultimately be adopted by the other person.
The most critical issue that was being faced by people is the desire to be recognized and demanding things to be done their way. In his teachings, he cautioned his followers against the Pharisees who know more about the law and never practiced it. They were the teachers of time that were trusted by people. They required them to adopt and follow a particular form of lifestyle which themselves they could not manage (Watson, 1971). He instead emphasized on the need of walking by example, which would ultimately attract people their way. His teachings were therefore not based on any theoretical approach or hitting a third party. He insisted that his followers should follow the teachings instead of demanding the same from others (Scott, 1995). Humility was also paramount if a person desired to lean and be transformed. This also required them to deny themselves of worldly pleasures and seek after the kingdom. Persistence was also a fundamental principle that has to be adopted by his followers. This reveals the seriousness and eager that a person has which will ultimately make them sacrifice what they have just to obtain such righteousness. The walk of salvation becomes easier when a person learns to yield to a supernatural authority by learning to serve others. He in fact taught in one of his sermons that a person who serves others is the greatest.
5. Critically evaluate Psalm 23 in the light of Jesus’ teaching on the Good Shepherd.
Psalm 23 is one of the songs of David who took pleasure in praising God for his goodness. David is one man who had tested of God, trusted in him and proved of the fact that he indeed was faithful. The relationship that he shared with God was extraordinary and was basically considered to a man after God’s own heart (McQuilkin, 2009). David was a replication of Jesus who sought to do nothing except that which God required. Christian living is all about recognizing the sovereignty of God and submitting to his leading. This is considering the fact that man cannot achieve or accomplish anything on his own except through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Man is considered to have weaknesses, which are brought about by their external environment. God is only one who is able to guide and lead them through.
Psalm 23 talks about the Lord being a good shepherded and leading his sheep to better and greener pastures. This is not just a theoretical observation of David abut also a practical experience. He had experienced God through all his faces of life where he enabled him win various battles that he fought. Jesus is God manifested in flesh and we observe all this characters of a shepherded in him. One character about the shepherded is that he dose not only show the way but also leads it. A shepherded understands a place where there is better pastures and is always armed to protect the flock. Jesus, in his ministry practiced what he taught, this made it easier for people to believe and follow him.
The disciples of Jesus who had the privilege to be with him in person can testify of the fact that Jesus was a good shepherded to them (Keller, 2007). He defended them whenever necessary and ensured that they had all they needed. The disciples derived a lot of strength and insight by being close to Jesus. No mater how much other people that had not experienced him failed to trust him, the disciples knew him in person and followed his teachings (Conner & Malmin, 1990). Unlike other teachers of the law, Jesus did not impose anything on his followers. He simply did the will of the father, which his disciples were obliged to follow. He washed their feet, served them and prayed for them. This are true characters of the good shepherded which have been highlighted in psalm 23.
The work and ministry of Jesus revolved around reaching out to the needy in the society. He recognized the fact that apart from material blessings that people had, there were many who were still in need of spiritual food. The main reason why he targeted those who were materially poor was the receptive hearts they had. He also used them to attract others in the society who, even though they had material wealth, they were in need of healing. By providing for non-spiritual needs of the people, he would draw large crows that would ultimately listen and obey his words. Jesus proved to his followers that he had the ability to provide for both their material and spiritual needs.
Conner, K. and Malmin, K. 1990. Interpreting the Scriptures. Portland, Oregon: Christian City Publishing.
Keller, P. (2007). A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. New York: Zondervan.
Klein, W. W., Blomberg. C. L., Hubbard, R. L. 2004. Introduction to biblical Interpretation. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
McQuilkin, R. J. 2009. Understanding & Applying the Bible. Chicago: Moody.
Randolph, Tate, W. 2006 Interpreting the Bible: A Handbook of Terms & Methods. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers Inc.
Scott, J. J. 1995. Jewish Backgrounds of the New testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Watson, T. 1971. The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5: 1-12. London: Banner of Truth Trust.