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Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

God’s Kingdom in the Story of the Bible

So for Jesus, what does it mean for God’s Kingdom to come to Earth? To answer, we first remember that Jesus is Jewish and grew up meditating on the Hebrew Bible, the sacred Scriptures of Israel. They told the story of God and his way of life in a heavenly kingdom along with humanity and its ways of life in its own kingdoms on Earth.

God first creates a well-ordered world where the kingdom of God and Earth were one, and he appoints humans to rule on his behalf. When humans rule with God’s wisdom and love — that is, when justice and peace prevail, and love compels all to care for one another generously — they are experiencing God’s Kingdom and God’s will being done here on Earth as it is in Heaven (Genesis 1). But that’s no easy task. Humans start building their own kingdoms, according to their own wisdom (Genesis 3, 4, 11).

God’s response is to help humanity, and he chooses one family, the people of Israel (Abraham’s family), to bring life to every other family on Earth.

God’s wisdom for Abraham’s family is called the Torah, which in Hebrew, means “teaching” or “instruction.” Beginning with Moses on Mount Sinai, God enters into a sacred covenant with them (Exodus 19-20). God chooses this one family to be transformed by God’s wisdom so that they can represent God’s Kingdom before all the nations (Exodus 19:3-6).

Big Idea

The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete record we have of Jesus’ announcement about the arrival of God’s Kingdom, promising that God’s presence and blessing is available to everyone.

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