Friends, I will be out of touch the next several days at a retreat. While I won’t be able to post during this time, I hope you will continue in the Word until I’m back on Monday. I plan to study the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 – 7 until Advent begins on November 27. May I suggest that over the next couple of days you read those chapters? Perhaps from different translations/versions and some bible commentaries? If you are anything like me, there are many passages we are “familiar” with, perhaps from our Sunday School days, but we don’t really “know” them. I hope you will be blessed through study and I’ll reconnect with you all next Monday, 11/14.
Our scripture this morning is Matthew 5:1-12, from the New Living Translation.
One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them. “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Jesus begins His public ministry by teaching to a crowd assembled on the side of a mountain. He has been baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, defeated Satan’s ploys to tempt Him into acting for Himself instead of His Father, and gathered a small group of close followers. Now begins the real work for which He has been sent.
He shares how we can all be blessed by God when we follow His teachings and actions. He mentions people in various situations, none of which are powerful, wealthy or important on earth, but are beloved by God. It doesn’t mean that those with power, wealth or importance can’t be blessed, but they must be willing to see that none of these worldly things can save them.
That is the core of Jesus’ message to all of us – there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Only a humble and honest relationship with Him can bring us to salvation. Through Christ, God has offered us the chance of a lifetime, and only in Him will we find eternal life.
Heavenly Father, we are grateful for the coming of our Lord Jesus to love and save and free us. Help us to carry on the ministry we have been given, to share Your love with all the world. Amen.