These next 3 chapters of Matthew are some of my favourites in the whole Bible. The Sermon on the Mount sees Jesus take what is known and established, and shift it with just a subtle change. Christian or not, you cannot read these verses and NOT see clearly how Jesus desires that we should live, how we are to be, how our interactions with others should be different.
Things that struck me… (please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below)
You know what, Jesus messes with the norm BIG time. We deem blessing to be when we receive something we want. He states that we are ‘blessed’ when we are poor in spirit, when we mourn, when we have the right kind of hunger & thirst, when we show mercy, when we act as peacemakers, when we are persecuted, insulted and spoken against. It’s the topsy-turvy way of the Gospel that turns life the right-side up! I need to keep my perspective on life that way too.
If we can live blessed in states of downturn, no wonder we can then be salt and light to the world around us. Our different attitude to life will bring a new flavour, it will cause us to shine. I don’t want to be ‘good for nothing’. Salt penetrates. Salt purifies. Salt preserves. Salt makes something bland more appetising. I hope I can remain salty.
It’s incredible to think about how people must have reacted to this stuff. Jesus took the law and instead of ignoring it and establishing a new code which some hoped for, he took everything that little bit further. He had come to fulfil the law not abolish it. He hones in on everything…
…murder is not just about killing anymore but how you speak to people
…adultery is not just about sex out side of marriage but how you look at someone
…an oath is fickle whatever it is made against, just say yes or say no and mean it
…an eye for an eye may be deserved but turn away from it, in fact give even more
…love is not just for those who love you, that’s easy but it’s also for your enemies
This Christian life is quite challenging at times. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously not one or maybe needs to check themselves against this new level of living that Jesus puts out there, am I becoming more like he wants me to become, especially as he finishes by saying ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’. Or as the Message version puts it ‘Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it…’
What’s your point of view on all that?