Stories of princes, princesses, kings and queens, crowns and kingdoms fascinate us. We read about them in history books and fiction. We watch movies portraying Princess Brides and like to read Princess Diaries. Whether it be great kings and queens of Scripture such as David, Solomon, or Esther, or rulers like King Tut, Cyrus, Caesar, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Kublai Khan, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip – the lives of monarchs captivate us.
In any Kingdom, life is to be lived under the rule and reign of the King. The boundaries, the blessings, and the behaviors expected of citizens of the Kingdom are formalized and enforced by the King. He is sovereign and yields to no one.
In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus sits down to teach the crowds and His disciples about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. Kingdom living is not about living an ideal life in an ideal world but about living with God in a broken one. It’s about living with the King as messed-up people in a messed-up world. Let’s look at Matthew’s Gospel for some background to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.