August 3, 2022 - Matthew 5-7
The Sermon on the Mount. Sometimes, people try to boil the Christian down to a set of laws: “Do this. Don’t do that.” Jesus was a lawgiver, but the instructions he has given us, unlike those of the Pharisees and their ilk, are life-giving. They do not lead to bondage, but to freedom. They do not weary, rather, they bring joy. The words of Jesus are grace filled.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth . . .” (5:3-5). Jesus continues to teach about the blessedness his disciples experience and the joy that is ours and that we are salt and a light on the hill and . . . and . . .
And even when Jesus gets into the real meaty parts of the law – murder, adultery, divorce, lying – you just get this sense that this is not mere legalism, but a kingdom ethic that brings peace and joy. Go the second mile. Love your enemy. Direction on how to pray, how to give. Encouragement to trust and rest in the Lord and his provisions. Be sure I am in the right before I begin to point my finger at others. Build on the rock.
These are grace filled words. In all the world, there is nothing like the teaching of Jesus.
Purer in heart, O God,
Help me to be;
May I devote my life
Wholly to Thee.
Watch Thou my wayward feet,
Guide me with counsel sweet;
Purer in heart,
Help me to be. -- Fannie E. Davison (19th century)