Daily Readings: Genesis 9-10, Psalm 4, Matthew 5
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.” –Matthew 5:1-2
If you have not already read the Sermon on the Mount first today, stop immediately and go read that first! The words of Jesus are far more important than my thoughts about his words!
As I was reading these words from Jesus today so many thoughts came flooding in. If there has ever been a sermon more necessary for today’s culture and more counter to our default mode in Western society, I have never heard it! So many of these beautiful words from Jesus run completely against the way the vast majority of Christians’ approach their walk with the Lord in today’s world.
This is also the classic sermon where it is so easy to think, “Wow, so much truth! You know who could really use reading this, my co-worker.” It would be nice if Jesus had said, “If your brother looks at a woman lustfully…If your neighbor becomes angry…If your boss is slapped…” Unfortunately Jesus was talking to us!
If we read the Sermon on the Mount through the lens of spiritual curiosity and simply appreciate the beauty of it, we have missed the point. The Sermon on the Mount shouldn’t feel beautiful as it is being read. It should feel a bit like a gut punch; a slap in the face that we desperately need. At least, I know that I do.
If these words of Jesus didn’t challenge you today to really wrestle with some sin issue in your life, I would encourage you to go back and start at the top and sincerely pray beforehand, “Lord, open my eyes to my own blind spots. Show me your truth even if it is difficult to accept and something I don’t want to see.”
None of us are perfect, nor can we ever be. That is why Jesus had to come down to earth to pay the price for our sins in the first place. However, Jesus does want us to embrace him, invite him to live in us and through us, and aggressively seek to change the way we think and act in our every day life. Jesus didn’t call us to slight, gradual, incremental change over time. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus called us to a radical, 180 degree, complete shift in the way we think about everything!
Jesus doesn’t want our life to be slightly better with him in it. He wants total transformation. The Sermon on the Mount wasn’t subtle. I desperately desire that the change in my life with Jesus in it not be subtle either!
Thought to Ponder
If Jesus gave you your own personal Sermon on the Mount, what would he say?