READ MATTHEW 5 – THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
The children of Israel had been bound by the law and the rituals established over the centuries. They were constant reminders of the Covenant God had established with them. The Israelite were used to this way of serving God. but there was no way to keep the law perfectly – no sacrifice or good deed would be enough to satisfy the requirements of God. The only hope was the promise of a Messiah, sent by God, to free them from the chains of sin.
Jesus grew up with these traditions. He made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem each year. He worshipped and studied intensively at the temple. His wisdom seemed to be growing daily and now that He was the Rabbi, His words were resonating with the people. The scriptures were coming alive through Hm. It was as if he had written them himself.
He talked about a kingdom not of this world. He spoke as if He’d already been there. His words about the fulfillment of the law was fascinating to them. When He talked of complete payment for sin – life after death – sharing in God’s inheritance – the audience listened with rapt attention. Many thought he was the Messiah, the King they longed for, the second David, come to rule and make them the powerful nation they once were.
The crowds grew so large, He had to go to the top of a mountain to speak. They waited eagerly and hung on every word. Most of these people were used to the old laws, but Jesus had different things too tell them. He said to them, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” His purpose was finally becoming known to the thousands who hungered for his message. Jesus had come to pay the ransom.
He related to those starving minds and us, that this world is only temporary. He taught us how to pray – not as those who made hypocrites of themselves, but in the quiet moments of our lives, in silent supplication and humility before God. He told us not to worry about things – not to store up treasures on earth – to look forward to our time in eternity – to ask God for what we need and then be confident He would answer. He told us how to love each other – even those who persecuted or hated us.
Through this Sermon on the Mount, He summarized how we should live – how we should treat each other – how to serve God – how to pray – everything we need to know about God’s promise fulfilled. His message was healing balm for a wounded world – a message we all need more than ever today.