Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.
What Does this Passage Say?
Jesus is very early in His ministry; but exactly how early we do not know. The book of Matthew is not a chronological telling of the life of Jesus. We can assume that the full cast of twelve disciples has been collected by this point.
This is known as Jesus Sermon on the Mount. Mark Moore, former college professor and author writes, “This is the greatest sermon ever given. It is also the most quoted. In it we find the epitome of Jesus’ teaching – radical, sensible, spiritual, and almost vicious in its demolition of hypocrisy. It flies in the face of every culture it enters. It pierces every heart that hears it. We attempt to dissect it with an exegetical scalpel only to find that we, not the text, are under examination.”[i]
Jesus begins His sermon by sharing things that God provides blessings for. These blessings are God comforting and protecting those willing to follow Him and seek Him out.
Jesus then reminds His audience, Jews, that they have a purpose in carrying out … to be the salt and light of the world. They have responsibility as the nation of God’s choosing to be the ones to tell about God, who He is, and what He has done.
When Jesus speaks the Jews are still living under the Law of Moses. This Law has shaped their society … in good and bad ways. They have often taken the Law apart and followed it in ways God did not intend. Jesus reminds that righteousness, not simply observance of the Law, is what God is really after.
From here Jesus begins teaching bout relationships from anger, adultery, divorce, vows, revenge, and loving our enemies. Jesus teaching was radical in many ways. He took what the Law said and even ramped it up a notch. Jesus was more focused on your heart then on strict observance to the Law.
What is this passage teaching?
The blessings that start this sermon off with are often known as The Beatitudes. They are matters of the heart. They demonstrate how your heart should react to those around you and how it should respond to God. For a proper heart, God will bless. What is great is Jesus keeps this heart discussion going. When he talks about being salt and light it is all about changing the heart of those who are far from God. When Jesus talks about the Law, He is reminding them that they have lost the heart of the Law. Jesus is more concerned with our hearts than He is with anything else.
How can I apply this passage to my life?
So where is your heart at? Are you madly in love with Jesus? Or are you following Him because that is what you are supposed to do? Jesus is more concerned with your heart than anything else. He wants you to desire Him. He wants you to follow, not because you fear the alternative, but because you love Him with all your being. Where is your heart at?