Monday, 19 August 2013

Matthew 5:1-20 - Teaching the disciples

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Matthew 5:1-11 is the famous 'Sermon on the Mount' while in Matthew 5:12-20 Jesus begins explaining his upside-down commands. And it is upside-down and back-to-front in terms of the way many people think.

But first, notice in verse one that Jesus saw the crowds, climbed high into the hills, and spoke to those who were prepared to follow him there.

It seems to me that the pithy statements in verses two to eleven would have contradicted the normal wisdom of Jesus' day (and our own as well). I considered them in more detail in a post on 'Journeys of Heart and Mind' - you might like to read it.

And then Jesus explains that we are to have a useful flavour in the world and are to throw the light we have into a dark world. This is our highest purpose, changing the way people feel and think and dispelling darkness. And notice the reason for it in verse sixteen - 'That [the world] may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven'. This is not about what we do, it's about what Jesus does. Through us he touches the world around us and gives light to the lost. Perhaps it's the consequent harvest that glorifies the Father.

Finally, he explains how he came to fulfill the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets). He doesn't set them aside but meets their demands and brings them to fruition.

Are you flavouring the world? If so, how?

Are you a source of light, is your light 'shining before others'? If so, how?

How do you think your righteousness matches up against that of the scribes and Pharisees? And how do you think the righteousness of Jesus within you matches up?

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