Friday, July 18, 2014


The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew chapters 5-7.
This week I have been teaching on a few points found in chapter 5.

Jesus says ‘blessed are the poor in spirit- for the kingdom is theirs’ ‘blessed are you when people say false things about you for my sake- they did this to the prophets- you have a great reward’.

‘Pray for those who do bad things to you’ ‘you are the salt of the earth- the light of the world- let your good works shine so all can see’ [in chapter 6 Jesus says don’t boast or sound a trumpet when you do good works- but let the works speak for themselves].

The teachings of Jesus go against our human nature- he said ‘if someone sues you- takes you to court- and wins- go the extra mile- give them more’.
Actually we find the term ‘extra mile’ in this chapter ‘if someone forces you to go one mile- go 2’.

In Jesus day the Jewish people were living under occupation- the nation that ruled over them was the Roman Empire.
So- by law- if a Roman soldier demanded you to carry his pack- you had to- for 1 mile.

So- as the way human nature is- the Jews had mile markers all over- and if they were forced to carry the pack- they made sure it was just for the required mile.

In a way- it was a type of the Old Covenant law- it ruled over you- with the fear of judgment.

Now- say if after the required mile was done- you kept going.
All of a sudden you have the Roman soldier there- you’re carrying the pack- yet he has no rule of threat over you anymore- but the work is still getting done.

Not out of fear- but love.

This is a great picture of the New Covenant- we still keep the 10 commandments- but it’s not like a sword hanging over us- we do it because we are followers of Jesus- yeah- the 2nd mile.

The themes of Jesus in the sermon on the mount are themes of forgiveness- non retaliation- ‘if you bring your gift to God- and then remember that your brother has something against you- go- be reconciled to your brother first- then bring your gift’.

That’s the AA teaching of making amends.

We should give up our rights- not view the world thru the lens of ‘they did me wrong- they deserve to be punished- by me!’

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church ‘how dare you take each other to court- and that before the unbelievers’.

They were suing one another- Paul said they have more wisdom than the world- they should set the least of them to judge these matters.

He said just take the wrong- if you were indeed wronged- so what- follow Christ’s example and realize it’s a Cross you can carry.

In the world today there is a lot of unrest- maybe more than we have seen in many years.


What’s the root cause?

Nations and people believe they were wronged in some way- many of these resentments go back for hundreds of years- and both sides of these issues have deteriorated to a point where they think violence is the only way to resolve it.

In the letter of James we read ‘from whence come wars and fighting among you- they come from from the lust that wars in you- you fight and desire to have and cannot get what you want’.

Some demand the other side to pay a price- and if they feel the offending party has gotten away with an injustice- they take the last resort and fight.

A strange thing happened at the street service this past Sunday.

A few years ago there was a famous case of a foster mom who was sentenced to life without parole for the death of her child- Andrew Burd.

The case got national attention- the woman- Hannah Overton- was a missionary and her church supports her to this day.

I’ll admit- there were some wrong things done at her trial- I am not an out and out defender of Hannah- but she was charged with punishing the boy by making him drink spices- and the boy got sick.

She did take him to the hospital- but he died.
Wrong indeed.

There were questions- legal ones- that arose- but in the end the crime comes under not getting treatment for some one on time.
A crime I am familiar with because I worked with the ambulance service for 25 years.

I have never seen a life without parole for a crime like this- her conviction was for the cause of the boy’s death because she did not get him to the hospital on time- and her punishment is greater  then I have seen in cases where people kill other people- intentionaly.

So- the media made a big thing out of it- and Hannah Overton has a web site asking for a new look at the case.

In the church meeting Sunday an elderly woman stood up- she was distraught- her son recently died- and she asked for everyone to support her web site- called ‘justice for Andrew Burd’.

She was the boy’s grandmother.

I spoke to her after the meeting- prayed with her- told her I am familiar with the case- and let her know that I had just seen that Hannah’s last appeal was rejected [to the best of my knowledge].

The lady was so happy- she said it was the best news she has had in a long time.

Now- was this grandmother wrong to want justice for her dead grandchild?

Of course not- in the chapter above Jesus says ‘you have heard not to murder- and if you murder you will be in danger of the judgment’.
Judgment for sin- for crime- is real- and God ordained law and justice in both the Old and New testaments.

Yet we as people- as individual Christ followers- we are to forgive- release- not seek our own vengeance- or harbor hatred towards those who have ‘sinned’ against us because we too have wronged others.

Jesus said ‘blessed are the merciful- for they shall obtain mercy’.

He taught us to ‘turn the other cheek’- to not resist evil with evil- but to take the wrong-

In the world today we see wars raging- sides demanding a just outcome for past [or present] grievances- it’s not in our nature to forgive- to turn.

Many great men have followed the principles of Jesus found in the Great Sermon- Martin Luther King- Gandhi- etc.

Men who gave their lives for a higher cause- believing that the way of the Cross was indeed a better way.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Matthew 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
Matthew 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
Matthew 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Matthew 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Matthew 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

What Jesus Means to Me by Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi
Although I have devoted a large part of my life to the study of religion and to discussion with religious leaders of all faiths, I know very well that I cannot but seem presumptuous in writing about Jesus Christ and trying to explain what he means to me. I do so only because my Christian friends have told me, on more than a few occasions, that for the very reason I am not a Christian and that (I shall quote their words exactly) “I do not accept Christ in the bottom of my heart as the only Son of God,” it is impossible for me to understand the profound significance of his teachings, or to know and interpret the greatest source of spiritual strength that man has ever known.
Although this may or may not be true in my case, I have reasons to believe that it is an erroneous point of view. I believe that such an estimate is incompatible with the message that Jesus Christ gave to the world. For, he was certainly the highest example of one who wished to give everything, asking nothing in return, and not caring what creed might happen to be professed by the recipient. I am sure that if he were living here now among men, he would bless the lives of many who perhaps have never even heard his name, if only their lives embodied the virtues of which he was a living example on earth; the virtues of loving one’s neighbour as oneself and of doing good and charitable works among one’s fellowmen.
What, then, does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God’s only begotten Son.* Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life? Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me? I cannot believe so.
To me, it implies a spiritual birth. My interpretation, in other words, is that in Jesus’ own life is the key of his nearness to God; that he expressed, as no other could, the spirit and will of God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the Son of God.

The Spirit of Jesus

But I do believe that something of this spirit that Jesus exemplified in the highest measure, in its most profound human sense, does exist. I must believe this; if I did not believe it, I should be a sceptic; and to be a sceptic is to live a life that is empty and lacks moral content. Or, what is the same thing, to condemn the entire human race to a negative end.
It is true that there certainly is reason for scepticism when one observes the bloody butchery that European aggressors have unloosed, and when one thinks about the misery and suffering prevalent in every corner of the world, as well as the pestilence and famine that always follow, terribly and inevitably, upon war.
In the face of this, how can one speak seriously of the Divine Spirit incarnate in man? Because these acts of terror and murder offend the conscience of man; because man knows that they represent evil; because in the inner depths of his heart and of his mind, he deplores them. And because, moreover, when he does not go astray, misled by false teachings or corrupted by false leaders, man has within his breast an impulse for good and a compassion that is the spark of Divinity, and which some day, I believe, will burst forth into the full flower that is the hope of all mankind.

Jesus’ Example

An example of this flowering may be found in the figure and in the life of Jesus. I refuse to believe that there now exists or has ever existed a person that has not made use of his example to lessen his sins, even though he may have done so without realizing it. The lives of all have, in some greater or lesser degree, been changed by his presence, his actions, and the words spoken by his divine voice.
I believe that it is impossible to estimate the merits of the various religions of the world, and, moreover, I believe that it is unnecessary and harmful even to attempt it. But each one of them, in my judgment, embodies a common motivating force: the desire to uplift man’s life and give it purpose.
And because the life of Jesus has the significance and the transcendency to which I have alluded, I believe that he belongs not solely to Christianity, but to the entire world; to all races and people, it matters little under what flag, name or doctrine they may work, profess a faith, or worship a God inherited from their ancestors.
 The Modern Review, October 1941, republished on
* The word ‘begotten’ has for Gandhiji a significance that is more profound and possibly nobler than its simple literal meaning.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots.

No comments:

Post a Comment