PODCAST: Yeshua in Context – Beatitudes and Hope

The Yeshua in Context book, audiobook, and eBook is due for release in August 2010. I plan to publish a sourcebook as well with lists, charts, and further resources for study. In this podcast, we’ll explore the beginning of what will be chapter 10 in the book. We’ll set up the other topics regarding the Beatitudes which you can read about when the book is released.

Most everyone knows the Beatitudes the sayings of Yeshua such as, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” But what do these short sayings have to do with Yeshua’s Jewish context? How would his audience have heard them? What is going on with the Sermon on the Mount?

Matthew’s gospel, where we read the Beatitudes, is clearly arranged thematically. W.D. Davies and Dale Allison observe that Matthew first, before the Sermon on the Mount, sets up the divinely sent identity of Yeshua in the stories of his birth, fleeing to Egypt, baptism, and temptation (Matthew: A Shorter Commentary, New York, T&T Clark, 2004). Armed with the knowledge of who he is, the reader understands now that Yeshua must teach. The Sermon on the Mount is placed to be Yeshua’s teaching. It is followed by the deeds of Yeshua in chapters 8 and 9 and then the same deeds of Yeshua’s disciples in 10.

The Sermon on the Mount, then, represents a demonstration of the authority and message of Yeshua. It is part of a programmatic presentation of Yeshua in Matthew that follows a simple outline in the first ten chapters: identity, teaching, deeds, disciples.

Another scholar famous for his work on the Sermon on the Mount is Hans Dieter Betz. He suggests, as do others, that the Sermon on the Mount is not to be thought of as the exact address or outline Yeshua used on one occasion when speaking. A number of factors give evidence that the Sermon on the Mount is an ancient summary of the many things Yeshua taught, compiled by someone after Yeshua’s time (Essays on the Sermon on the Mount, Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009). For one thing, there is the fact that the Sermon on the Mount is very similar to Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. Yet comparison of the two stories shows that they are not the same event. And differences between the two show that Yeshua spoke about certain topics repeatedly.

In other words, you can make a pretty good case that the Sermon on the Mount is a sort of summation of the life message of Yeshua prepared after him by his disciples.

And the Beatitudes occupy a very important place in the Sermon on the Mount. They introduce the essential message of Yeshua. They are the epitome of what he stood for.


1. On iTunes, search for “Yeshua in Context” under podcasts.

2. Or listen at this link on derekleman.com.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Bible, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Yeshua and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to PODCAST: Yeshua in Context – Beatitudes and Hope

  1. Someone asked if I was saying the words of the Sermon on the Mount were not Yeshua’s words. I was not saying that.

    Then they rephrased and asked, “Do you believe the Beatitudes were really a summary of Yeshua’s teachings, not a literal teaching?” That is not what I meant either.

    I meant that on some occasion when Yeshua went up on the hillside next to the Lake of Galilee, he did not say the words we find in Matthew 5-7 verbatim, as is, according to that order and outline, etc.

    Think about it. It takes what, 10-15 minutes to read Matthew 5-7? Do you think Yeshua delivered a 10-15 minute talk just like what we read?

    And even if so, how did it get recorded. The idea that someone took notes is extremely unlikely to the point of being impossible. And, yes, people memorized important teachings from those they respected as sages. But such memorization would happen over the course of time with repetition and so on.

    What I was saying is that Yeshua taught on many occasions and in many places. He said a lot of similar things. He repeated himself often, I would imagine. New people were frequently around.

    Matthew 5-7 is a summary of the many things Yeshua taught, a collection of essential sayings, the epitome of his many teachings. It is likely that in most cases, the wording is even exact. With a saying like “blessed are the poor in spirit,” it is not hard to imagine someone remembering it precisely. So the “blessed are the poor” in Luke is either a variant or someone remember differently exactly how he said it.

    So, I did not mean to cause anyone alarm. And I do not, as the commenter suggested, have doubts about the validity of Yeshua’s sayings in the gospels (whose comment I deleted because it gave a false impression about my opinion of the text of the gospels, though I don’t think the commenter intended any offense). My criteria for recognizing the validity of Yeshua’s words is very different from historical critics (positivism) and some postmodern critics as well. I spell out my criteria for knowledge in the first chapters of Yeshua in Context without going into excruciating philosophical detail.

    The big point is that the Sermon on the Mount is even more significant if it is a summary of the numerous teachings of Yeshua, no doubt two of the most memorable occasions being on the Galilean hill as in Matthew or the Galilean plain as in Luke. The fact that Yeshua’s disciples gathered his teachings into collections of essential message, epitomizing summaries, means much thought went into them and (as those of us who believe it would say) divine inspiration in the collecting of teachings as well.

    Feel free to ask questions.

    Derek Leman

  2. judahgabriel says:

    Ok. I do have a few questions, but they’re not entirely important. :-) Have a good shabbat, Derek.

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