Monday, May 28, 2012

You Have Heard That It Was Said . . .

{Meditation Monday: My Journey Through the Sermon on the Mount}

In the beatitudes, Jesus sets up for us a picture of how we become truly blessed . . . by becoming poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted. Not the list you were expecting right? I thought you were supposed to find happiness in the American Dream, outer beauty, intelligence, pride, fancy cars, successful careers, money, family, and all that jazz.

We've been taught that those things are what you're supposed to pursue and what you're supposed to delight in, then you can just add on God here and there when you feel like it. Then Jesus enters the scene and flips our entire world upside down. None of these things bring true happiness, this is not the way to being "blessed".

Jesus starts the Sermon on the Mount by reframing our thinking to who God is, who we are, and how we inherit the eternal life. And He knows us so that well, that even after teaching us how to bow low in order to be raised high, we will still turn to our religious way. We will still want to "perform" for God, we still want religion that is outward and shallow, rather than relationship and heart change that is inward.

So he is saying . . . Daughter, if you still think you can be "good enough" to earn eternal life, you don't understand. Let me teach you about trying to "keep" the law:

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. . ." (v.21-22)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (v.27-28)

"It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (v.31-32)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." (v.38-39)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. . ." (v.43-44)

"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (v.48)

So what is Jesus doing? Setting up an impossible religious task? Giving us more law and rule to follow that are impossible?

He is showing us that if you think you're going to inherit the Kingdom through how you live . . . you've got a long way to go. If you think you can stand in the presence of holiness, that your "deeds", your "I'm a good person" line will work then you know what . . . you better be PERFECT as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus, that's impossible!


That's why I died for you. I died, a perfect, complete, sinless, sacrifice so that you would stop trying to "achieve" eternal life, and rest in the finished work of the Cross. Don't look to the law to fulfill you, remember I fulfilled it already? Don't look "doing good deeds" as some kind of heavenly credit, I'm your credit.

Daughter, you have heard that it was said "Work hard at keeping the law to earn your salvation" . . . and I say "Stop working and trust in me".

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

No comments:

Post a Comment