Lent Series: The Sermon on the Mount (Part One)

Jesus had been healing people and teaching for days now.  I had a hard time trying to listen to everything he was saying as I couldn’t get to him through all the crowds.  I did, however, see people being healed, which was amazing!

One day Jesus went up on a mountainside near Capernaum and sat down to teach. I was so thrilled to be able to be a lot closer this time so I could not just listen to him, but I could see him at the same time.  He taught for hours.  There is so much to share so I will begin with his blessings upon people.

Jesus blesses the poor who realise their need for Him.  He said the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  Blessings are given to those who mourn for they will be comforted, not just the bereaved but those who are sorry and repent from their wrongdoings.  He blesses those who are humble and said they will inherit the earth.  Humbleness is not weakness although many will tell us so.  It is instead, controlled strength and self-discipline.

Jesus went on to bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice for they will be satisfied with food in abundance.  Blessings are upon those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy, those whose hearts are pure for they shall see God and those who work for peace, they will be called the children of God.

Jesus then gave blessings to those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.  He even said when people mock, persecute, lie about and say all sort of things about us who follow him, we are to be happy and very glad about it!  He said there will be a great reward for us in heaven.

We were told to be salt and light.  I know salt is used to preserve meats and fish, my mother taught me this.  If we didn’t use salt, the meat and fish would rot and be useless.  Jesus told us that if we don’t stay salty we would be like rotten meat and be thrown out.  We use candles in the house for lights.  Our lamps would be holders that held candles.  Jesus explained we don’t hide our lamps under a bowl as it blocks out the light.  We are to shine our good deeds to others so they can see we love God the Father.

Jesus spoke about laws, anger, adultery, divorce, making and keeping vows and revenge.  I was surprised to see that people stayed to listen to Him with all these subjects being covered.  I enjoy listening to Jesus, he has a voice that doesn’t condemn when he speaks.  I think this makes it easier to listen and if I feel this way, the others around me must do too.

Jesus taught us that we are to love our enemies.  I remember in my earlier years having to learn the laws of the Lord. These laws were read from the scrolls of Leviticus.  Jesus mentions one verse in particular from Leviticus:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself.  I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18).

Throughout the generations, this verse has been taught to us as to “hate our enemies but love our neighbours” instead of “loving your neighbour as yourself.”  This became a Pharisaic law.   Jesus, however, stressed upon us that we are to love our enemies and even pray for those who persecute us!  If we do, he said we will be acting like true children of God.  He explains this truth by saying God gives sunlight and rain on both the evil and good and the unjust and just people.  I thought about this for a bit- it is true, the rain doesn’t stop in someone’s patch because they are evil nor does the sun.

He said everyone can love those who love us back.  Even corrupt tax collectors do the same.  If we are only kind to our friends, how are we different than anyone else?   We are to be perfect as God is perfect.

I have to let all this sink in.  I love being blessed by Jesus.  I don’t mind being the salt and light.  But loving my enemies is a bit difficult I think.  There is one gentleman who lives close to my mother who is always shouting insults at her because she tries to follow God’s laws.  He hurls accusations when she walks to the synagogue and laughs at her.  Jesus wants me to love and pray for him after all he does to my mother?

I know I am to be holy as God is holy.  We were taught this as young children.  From what I have already heard today, I have a long way to go before I am holy as God is.  For now, I am going to rest and think about the things I have shared with you so far.  Until tomorrow…

Notes:

*Blessed are- God blesses- this is an adjective meaning happy, supremely blessed, congratulations are in order.  This is a grace word that expresses the special joys and satisfaction granted the person who experiences salvation.

*The poor are those who recognise their spiritual poverty and putting themselves aside, they seek God’s grace.

*To be perfect means to be holy, set apart, sacred, clean, pure, separated unto God – “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel.  You must be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).

*To love others is not just having sentiment towards someone- it is a practical concern, blessing them, praying for them and wishing shalom for our friends and enemies alike.

For further study:

Matthew 5

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