The book of Matthew contains three chapters that make up the most comprehensive recording of Jesus’ teachings. The “Sermon on the Mount” was delivered in one continuous message at one particular time to Jesus’ followers and the multitudes. It has been memorized, quoted and misquoted, understood and misunderstood by generations of believers. What is clear is that its importance has never changed.
It shows the importance of the new birth we receive in Christ. The standards of this sermon are too high to meet on our won. In fact, the standards listed in the Sermon on the Mount are even greater than those in the law. In turn, it drives the listener to Jesus as man’s only hope before God. The sermon reveals the standards, objectives, and motivations that help to fulfill God’s design in us and helps us find peace and hope. It is, in addition, an incredible resource for witnessing and reaching others for Christ. A person that seeks to live out the Sermon on the Mount will draw others to Him. Finally, this sermon was designed by Jesus to confront us with our sinfulness and help us see our great need for Christ.
As Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 5-7, no doubt there were those that were angry. There were others that felt as if Jesus was pointing directly at them. Certainly others found peace and joy in His words. I’m sure that some walked away and lived out the words of Jesus, while others simply walked away and continued as before. Over the next few weeks, we may be angry or convicted over the words of Jesus. As we study, we may clearly hear the voice of the Lord calling for change in our hearts and lives. We will also find peace and joy and challenge as we study the inspired words of these chapters.
My prayer is that we will not walk away unchanged, but that we will be forever different as a result of applying the truths in the Sermon on the Mount. I pray that we will see the grace of God in our failures, and that we will accept the challenge to live with holiness and find the peace and joy that obedience can bring.