Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Matthew 5 - Sermon on the Mount Part I

by Katrina

LINK: Matthew 5

Matthew 5-7 contains what is commonly referred to as the "Sermon on the Mount," and chapter 5 contains the often quoted "Beatitudes." Although we are going to break this sermon down over three days, remember that it is all one sermon with a unifying theme -- what a righteous life looks like.

The Pharisees of the day taught that righteousness was a form, a list of strict rules, a detailed keeping of the law of Moses (and the many additional rules the Pharisees added), all outward performance. In this sermon, Jesus explains that righteousness is more closely tied to the attitude of the heart, and that righteous behavior then flows from the heart. The sermon is not explaining God's plan of salvation but is illustrating the fruit of a right relationship with God. "Kingdom living" is the way of life for those who are part of God's kingdom.

Jesus didn't start his sermon by condemning the Pharisees. Instead he pointed out the blessings of attitudes that they (and we) should have. Then Jesus addressed specific laws and explained how it's really the heart that matters more than the outward behavior.

Read through this chapter carefully meditate on it. Think "attitude" as you ponder this passage. How can you improve your own attitude in any of the areas covered in this chapter? Is there a sin of which you need to repent? Is there an offense you need to forgive? Is your "Christianity" a matter of form and behavior that needs to be replaced with a heart that follows after God?

Heavenly Father, thank you that Jesus preached and clarified your word to his audience at that time and that his words are preserved for us today. Give us hearts that truly seek after you. Help us not to get caught up in performance-driven lives that seek to impress others. Rather, help us put aside our own desires and seek to fulfill your desires for us. In the name of Jesus, amen.