Thoughts on the Beatitudes (2) - Evan Gear

Matt. 5:2 — And he opened his mouth and taught them…

This verse and its context form a refrain in a children’s song that runs through my head
as I read it. I can hear my children sing the words, “he went up on a moutaaa-iin, he sat
down, and he opened his mouth…”

The emphasis is on that last bit, he opened his mouth. It may seem like a little thing but it
is profoundly important. Jesus does not merely do deeds and work wonders; he opens
his mouth. He speaks. In this sense, his witness is not dumb. He images the God who is
not silent.

From the beginning it has been so. God words the world into existence. Into the
darkness and chaos of the primordial world he speaks and his speech is the very means
by which all that is, is made. It is therefore fitting that the One who is the radiance of the
glory of God
and the exact imprint of his nature (Heb. 1:3) should come opening his
mouth in speech.

And, note, that this is not simply speaking to make noise. He opened his mouth and
taught them
. He comes speaking and that speech is a means to convey information.
God speaks so as to inform his creature. Jesus means to teach his listeners. He does
not intend for us to exist in the darkness of ignorance. He does not desire that we simply
grope about blindly seeking to find his will. No, he comes to declare it. And his words
they are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). This one, who sits as king upon the
mountain, opens his mouth to give life to his hearers.

As the apostle Peter confesses, “Lord, to whom shall we go you have the words of
eternal life 
(John 6:68).”

There is an interesting detail that is easily missed in the story of Joseph recorded for us
towards the end of Genesis. As a type of Christ, Joseph is given all authority over Egypt
so that Pharoah decrees (Gen. 41:40), all my people shall order themselves as you
. The words of Joseph’s mouth then set in order all the affairs of Egypt through
seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. It is by his words that there is grain in
Egypt when all the rest of the world is without bread. By his mouth all the world is
brought subject to Pharoah, for by Joseph’s speech the world lives and dies. So, it is
interesting that Genesis 41:40 literally reads, “all my people shall kiss your mouth.”

Why kisses on the mouth?

For the very same reason that women are compelled to kiss soldiers returned from war.
The soldiers have gone and done something for them that they could never do. Jesus
opens his mouth and gives voice and form to the invisible God and his will for man. He
interprets the law and pulls back the veil that had hidden the inner realty of all creation
from our eyes. His words in their teaching impart not only information for the head but
life eternal for our very being. No man had ever spoken as Jesus speaks here from the
mount. Matthew 7:28 — When Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were
astonished at his teaching…

He was teaching as only God can, that He might make you know (Deut. 8:3) that man
shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth
of the LORD.
It is a wonder, for in this mouth God speaks to man as with the mouth of a
man. So, Peter, after declaring his word to be life eternal, goes on to say by revelation
(John 6:69): and we have believed and come to know, that you are the Holy One of

He knows it not because of the deed but because of the words of his mouth. He knows it
because he sat down and opened his mouth.

And knowing that, we can, with Peter as members of the bride, say let him kiss me with
the kisses of his mouth 
(Song of Songs 1:2).
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