Vs. 1, “Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him.” What a wonderful picture of our Lord as He begins His teachings on the Sermon on the Mount. Notice, even in our first verse what kind of posture Jesus takes. He sits down. This was significant because when a teacher sat down, you knew that they wanted to teach something very important and intimate. What we see in Jesus’ teachings is a big focus on the practical ways of living this life. Remember, when Jesus came…the Jews adhered or at least tried to adhere to over 600 laws. Of course, the law’s intent was to point them to Jesus and also there was always the “heart” matter for these laws. We are reminded of the Beattitudes (Blessings) (vs. 3-11) and how we are so very blessed and what that looks like. To be the salt (inner character) and the light (outward character) to this world (vs. 13-16). When we start looking at the rest of this chapter and so on….one might get confused. Question: Is Jesus saying they no longer needed to live out every law? Yes and No. Yes, because the intent of the law has never changed…God wants us to be holy. We cannot achieve holiness by following the standard of the law. Jesus did and died for us so that we could become His righteousness. I’ll expound a bit during the application…We also are see the practical ways of addressing murder, aldutry, divorce, oaths, payback, and love for enemies.
Regarding application…True Righteousness. Vs. 20, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Question: The Pharisee’s were one of the most “holy” people in the law! How could someone have a better righteousness? Even if we never broke a law on the outward, there are plenty of us that have sinned inwardly. Jesus is saying that righteousness therefore is something that is based first inwardly. Just because I don’t kill someone I hate…doesn’t make me any more righteous. But true rigtheousness is found first in the heart. As we start this new week, let us be every thoughtful and prayerful about our actions towards other, but more importantly the intent of our heart. And don’t ever forget what happened on 911!