In part 1, Jesus goes up on the mount to speak to the crowd. He discusses who is blessed, people’s value, some considerations for adhering to certain commandments, the merit of the “eye for an eye” rule, and loving enemies. In part 2, Jesus goes on to discuss doing things in public for other people to see vice for God to see in private, He gives us the Lord’s prayer, compiling treasures in heaven rather than on earth, and not being anxious about life. Now in part 3, Jesus goes through a lot of topics in a rather quick succession. It’s interesting that He decides to cover all these topics at once rather than spread them out through several sermons that are more focused. He comes out and makes these amendments to the way the people have been looking at things and adds in this move towards focusing on one’s own righteousness more than the righteousness of those around them. Even though so much of the Laws was about living peacefully together (or at least that was how I saw it when I was reading them), people seem to use them to accuse each other and divide themselves. It’s sad, but I feel like we still do the same thing in the US. Not only are we using different denominations to say who is more right about how we should follow the Bible, but we’re not looking at ourselves much. I read something the other day where a person was going on about how Christianity is so much about giving up self. I feel like we miss a lot that we are also supposed to watch out for not making the mistakes we shove onto others. At the very least, if we’re going to do those things, we should remember that God is going to treat us in about the same way we treat others. That’s also an interesting concept to me. It explains a lot about how differently people see the affects of God in their lives, even when raised in the same denomination or church. The first topic Jesus discusses in this chapter is judging others and therefore the way that we will be judged and that we should spend more time making sure we are good before trying to correct others. It’s not easy, but it’s a good practice to get into. That said, I’m pretty sure that Jesus doesn’t mean that you can be crappy about the cleanliness of someone’s house just because yours is clean. I feel like this is a more holistic judgement concept. As for “ask and it will be given”, I’m not so much thinking this is about worldly things. I feel like this is more about enlightenment and connection with God. If man doesn’t live by bread alone, then couldn’t the example in asking for bread and getting a stone really mean that God is paying attention and listening when we ask for things, and that we’ll get what we need, which is probably not always the same thing as what we want. Or something along those lines. I’m not going to say it’s a perfect system, I’m the last person who believes that with some of the things I’ve prayed for and not gotten, but I certainly struggle with whether there is malicious intent. There are terrible things that happen to people who pray all over the world. There always has been. I hesitate to believe this is directly about bread and stones, is all. Just like the person from the judgement section doesn’t have an actual full sized log in his eye, either. Then comes the Golden Rule and I feel like it’s a summation of topics going back to part 1 with retaliation and loving enemies and all the way to this sections. Treat people the way you think God should treat you. I love the way He adds “for this is the Law and the Prophets”. This must also be what He meant by not being there to “abolish” the Law. He just went through a pretty detailed explanation of points they were missing within the Laws and everything the Prophets had been saying. This is also why I am again saying that it’s important to read the Old Testament. It can be tough to get through, but it’s totally worth it. God has said so many things and He’s actually much more consistent than I’ve heard Christians give Him credit for. The last three topics all kind of go together in that people who claim to speak from divine revelation but don’t will lead others astray and Jesus will never really know them. While there exists an issue with people who never heard or had the opportunity to hear Jesus and His words, its worse for those who did and did not follow. The last part is kind of a warning that they would be wise to listen to Jesus now that they have heard him. If they go by the words of a false prophet, it’ll be useful as having built a house on sand. I find it interesting that Jesus uses a metaphor for weather on a house when He’s talking about people’s faith and their ability to get through hard times without God. At this point, the sermon ends and everyone marvels at Jesus’s authority.
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Chapter links go to the ESV translations at Biblehub.com but I’m reading from the ESV Global Study Bible, which is available for free on the Kindle Reading App.