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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 40 of 40: Living the Teachings

Matthew 7: 28-29
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

The Sermon on the Mount contains the best known teachings of Jesus and it contains the longest teaching by Jesus in the New Testament.  It is one of the most widely quoted sections of the New Testament, and contains the central tenants of Christian discipleship.  St. Augustine regarded it as the perfect standard for the Christian life.  Jesus, himself, said these teachings were to be the rock on which we are to build our lives.  Yet, it is regarded by some modern scholars as the least understood of Jesus' teachings by Christians.

When the scribes taught, they were very careful to cite the references of their teaching; this rabbi may have written and taught this, or that rabbi may have taught that.  This way of teaching was not a way of showing deference to a scholar as much as a way of name dropping and showing off one's education.

Jesus, when He taught, said "Verily I say to you."  He taught as one who was saying things for the first time as if he were speaking for God.  And the people were amazed.  

So, this teaching, this Sermon on the Mount, is straight from the heart and mind of God and it is meant to be a teaching around which we should center our lives; lives in which we are to be concerned not only with our outward actions but also our inward thoughts; lives in which love is our sole motivation; lives that embody God's mercy, grace and forgiveness not just to those we know and care about but also to those who are hard to love, even our enemies; lives that show the world a new kind of righteousness, a new kind of justice, a new kind of love; lives full of joy and peace and humility; lives full of trust in God; lives of prayer and forgiveness; lives built on a solid foundation.


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