Special Teaching

Journal Entry // January 25, 2023

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: (ESV)

Matthew 5:2

As Jesus saw the crowds gathering and forming around him, he pulled aside his disciples to a mountain and taught them. This teaching was not meant for everyone but only for those that were committed to following Jesus as the promised Messiah. When Jesus had separated himself from the crowds and was just among his disciples, then he sat down, opened his mouth, and taught them. It’s important to see the intentionality of this teaching. It is something more than the lessons the disciples witness as Jesus interacts and engages among the crowds. This is something special and direct for those who are committed to following Christ. When Jesus opens his mouth and teaches his disciples, he is building in them the importance of interpreting life and the law through the lens of grace and obedience. He is teaching them what it means to abide in Him.

All of the Bible is important, but I have a deep affection for the Sermon on the Mount. I have come to value this teaching of Jesus as being the central piece to understanding what it means to be an obedient follower of Christ. Essentially it is a master class on how to abide in Christ. The headings of the different sections are good indicators of what Jesus is teaching his disciples and me.

  • The Beatitudes
  • Salt and light
  • Christ came to fulfill the law
  • Anger
  • Lust
  • Divorce
  • Oaths
  • Retaliation
  • Love your enemies
  • Giving to the needy
  • The Lord’s prayer
  • Fasting
  • Lay up treasures in heaven
  • Do not be anxious
  • Judging others
  • Ask, and it will be given
  • The golden rule
  • A tree and its fruit
  • I never knew you
  • Build your house on the rock
  • The authority of Jesus

This is a lot of teaching! Important teaching that speaks to every area of life. This is not some esoteric, theoretical musing that has no real application or impact on my daily life. This teaching is intimate and personal. It cuts deep into my heart and soul and brings awareness of lies and deceptions that I believe. Those lies that sin repeats over and over again in my mind.  This teaching of Jesus brings the light of his gospel to bear on these lies. One, it reveals the heinous nature of sin and its grip on my heart. Two, it shows me the grace of Christ and dispels the power and hold sin may have on my heart.

This Sermon on the Mount is more than just some words that are interesting and good for me. These words are intentionally directed to the followers of Christ and are of vital importance to my daily life. All of these areas listed above are part of my every day. Sin pokes and prods at my heart and mind looking for gaps to infiltrate and hide. This teaching shows me how to not only spot this infiltration but to counter it with faithful obedience. More than that though it brings me to Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount calls me to a holy life of abiding in the grace of Christ. A life where each and every moment is focused only on Jesus. A life of breathing in the grace and mercy of Christ and breathing out Spirit-filled obedience of faithfulness and love.

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