Lent Series:  Sermon on the Mount- Part Two

The day was getting a bit warmer in the sunshine with a slight breeze blowing.  I continued to listen to Jesus even though I had already a lot to think about.  Jesus continued to speak about how we are to live holy lives.

Jesus mentions about giving to the needy.  When we give to others we are not to make a show of it, letting everyone know what we are doing.  Instead, we are to give in private.  I have heard people in the synagogues telling each other loudly what they gave to the poor.  It was as if they were fighting amongst themselves who gave the most.  Jesus actually called these people hypocrites.  Wow, that’s harsh, but the more I think about it, it’s true.  Hypocrites are ones who read scripts and puts on an act; they use a mask to cover their true motives.  I have heard this word in plays where the adults put on masks to entertain the little ones.

Jesus says the same thing about praying and fasting.  He said we are not to be praying loudly for everyone to hear or babbling on like those who pray to other gods.  We don’t have to pray long, repetitive prayers.  When we fast we are not to let everyone know we are doing so.  We are to comb our hair and dress as normal so other people can’t tell.  That’s a relief, I must tell you.  I don’t want others to know my prayers and if I am fasting.  For me, I find this a private time between me and God.

Jesus teaches us to pray: “Our Father in Heaven hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Did you hear those words?  We can call Yahweh God our Abba Father!  I am so excited!  I always thought God was distant, but Jesus says we can say Abba as if he were right here right now.  Once again I am amazed and in awe.  The rest of the prayer reminded me of the many different prayers we prayed throughout the day.  We give thanks in the morning when we rise, we give thanks for every meal, we even pray whilst washing our hands and before we go to sleep.  Extra prayers are prayed on special holidays and Sabbaths.

Jesus told us we are to forgive others as God forgives us.  If we don’t we will not be forgiven.  In our prayers, we pray to forgive others their sins as God does for us.  So not only am I to love the gentleman next door to mother, I am to forgive him or I won’t be forgiven.  I am not sure how I can do this.  I do hope I can begin to love him as well.  Maybe loving him and forgiving him might let him see we Jews are not bad people after all.

Jesus speaks about money and possessions.  He said we are not to hold things dear here on earth.  My father told me we don’t take the things to the grave with us, only our flesh goes to the grave.  The things on earth will stay when we leave to go to heaven.  None of it goes with us.  So we shouldn’t worry about having more things.

Jesus says our treasures should be in Heaven.  Whatever our treasures are, the desires of our hearts will be those things as well.  He explains we cannot serve two masters- money and God.  We will hate one and love the other.  Which one will come first in our lives?

Yes, money can buy things, we can have all the luxuries in the world.  However, looking at the crowd around me, I don’t think the majority of us have a lot of money.  Some were fishermen, others were tentmakers, carpenters, homemakers, linen makers, etc.  The Pharisees and other religious leaders were on the outskirts of this crowd and they were only a few in number compared to the rest of us.  I think most of us would be more worried and concerned where the money was going to come from to help us make ends meet.

It was as if Jesus knew my thoughts because he said we should not worry about treasures and money and everyday life.  Life is more important than food and the body is more important than clothing. He explained about the birds not being able to plant or harvest seed.  God allows plants to grow and he takes care of and provides for the birds.  We are far more valuable to God than birds, so why do we worry?  Can worrying actually add a single moment to our lives?

Jesus has a point here.  Why do we worry about money and things?  Even the poorest among us are able to survive even if it is on crumbs.

Jesus said if we seek the kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, he will give us everything we need.  We should stop worrying about tomorrow and what will happen.  Today has enough troubles of its own.

For further study:

Matthew 6


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