MONDAY, JULY 6
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5
By: Josh Boles
Today’s chapter is one of this chapters that we could spend several days talking about. The sermon on the mount is the most studied and well known sermon of Jesus but is the first of five main discourses by Jesus in the book of Matthew. The main idea of the sermon on the mount is the authoritative message of the Messiah, Jesus.
Jesus has just called His disciples and is beginning His ministry. It is fitting that He is establishing His authority over all creation as the one true God. Jesus is preaching this sermon on a hill side overlooking Capernaum, his ministry hub, and the sea of Galilee. This sermon has so much to offer, but I am just going to try to hit some of the bullet points.
I have always liked to look at the sermon on the mount as a sermon of opposites. If you think about how the words of Jesus compare to our culture, he really is asking us to live in a way that is drastically different from our culture. Just take the beatitudes for a perfect example. Our culture tends to gravitate towards the rich, happy, confident, and healthy people. These are the people that rule our society.
Jesus however; says blessed are the poor, the sad and lonely, the meek. So why is this? I think it is because those people seek after God as we see in verse 6. The meek know that worldly things will only leave you empty. They are done chasing worldly dreams and subsequently can hunger and thirst for righteousness. Does this mean that you can’t follow Jesus if you are well fed and have a good job? Absolutely not! It does mean however; that you can’t follow Jesus and chase after world dreams all at once. Jesus has given you a platform and resources to honor Him and share the Gospel, not to advance in worldly merit.
So what happens when we humble ourselves to what Jesus is saying here? Well, the second half of the beatitudes give us the answer. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will show and receive mercy. We will be pure and see God. We will create peace on earth and be called sons of God! But! We will also be persecuted, but Jesus reminds us that our reward is in heaven.
In the next part, 13-16, Jesus is basically telling the disciples the importance of their impact here on earth. Salt is beneficial for a number of ways but mainly it preserved meat. That was the primary purpose of salt then. Jesus is telling them that they, the disciples, are literally preserving the earth. They could not have food back then without salt. The parallels here is that there cannot be peace here on earth if the people of God do not live in this way.
We all want the world to change right? We all want the Lord to heal our land right? Well, the only way this happens is by us living in a Biblical way. This is in turn why Jesus establishes His authority in verse 17-20.
The only way we can accomplish the goal Jesus is begging us to realize is abiding in the Law of righteousness. Jesus is calling us to not “relax” (Vs19) on these things. Jesus then concludes the sermon on the mount with what really seems like a list of rules for us to follow but is so much more.
So as we close just remember how I like to interpret Matthew 5, as a sermon of opposites. Just spend some time and study the different sections here. Anger (21-26) Lust (27-30) Divorce (31-21) Oaths (33-37) Retaliation (38-42) And lastly love for our enemies (43-48) Because of space I won’t dive into each of these but do you notice a stark contrast to our culture. Our culture says It’s ok to be angry, and to lust. Our divorce rate is well over 60%. We retaliate when people do mean things to us and we give empty promises everyday. Our culture tells us to hate our enemies. Jesus is imploring us to live drastically different from the culture we live in. Live as we are literally preserving the earth, because we are if we live in the way Christ intended for us to live.