Read Matthew 5 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” :4 – The crowds had gathered, Jesus went up a hill and sat down, and these are the first words out of his mouth. He sat down, isn’t that a curious thing? Most teachers would stand, but Jesus sat down like a friend.
This section is called the Beatitudes, and sometimes the Sermon on the Mount. It covers how to live all the way into one’s heart. “Thou shall not kill.” Most people can go through life keeping that commandment, but Jesus cares about the heart and further explains, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Yikes. We all get angry. Jesus teaches us to settle the matter quickly, and do not even bring gifts to the altar until the matter is settled. Do you see how this takes the ‘holier than thou’ right off the table? Jesus had no room for the proud or fakers.
He applied the same teaching to sexual purity. He went past, ‘do not commit adultery’, and explained that even looking at another lustfully is the act of adultery in one’s heart.
Jesus’s teaching is revolutionary. You are to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. What surprised you as you read through? What do you need to surrender? Were you tempted to think in your heart, “He didn’t really mean….” We can be masters of justification because we compare ourselves to other people. The standard Jesus uses is holiness.
The late Pastor Chuck Smith said, “The man who truly sees God sees himself in truth.” May you look with clear eyes into our Scriptures and make every change the Lord leads you to.