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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Day 283: The Sermon on the Mount

We move deeper into Jesus’ teaching, What exactly is this man saying?
Jesus’ teaching about anger, adultery and divorce
Matthew 5:21-32
Vows and revenge
Matthew 5:33-42
Love for enemies
Matthew 5:43-48
Teaching about giving
Matthew 6:1-4
Teaching about prayer and fasting
Matthew 6:5-18
Riches in heaven
Matthew 6:19-23
God and possessions
Matthew 6:24-34
Judging others
Matthew 7:1-6
Our heavenly Father
Matthew 7:7-12
Further teaching
Matthew 7:13-23
The wise and foolish builders
Matthew 7:24-27
Jesus’ authority
Matthew 7:28-29

At first, Jesus seems to be making the law stricter. He tightens every prohibition. But the thing in common seems to be that he’s talking about the interior life, not the exterior keeping of rules. What matters is your heart. Don’t so things to be seen and admired. Do good things in secret.
The Lord’s Prayer is as much about God as about us. One line is given to the sorts of things we usually pray about, “give us each day our daily bread.” The rest is about God’s honour, or about our interior lives.
Jesus moves on to talk about how much we can trust God, “Your Father in heaven,” he calls him - a wonderful, warm, affirming name for God. He tells us that God is on our side, loving and caring for us, providing for us, always willing to supply our needs, to make up for our shortcomings. God is nice, and he loves us.
Then after a couple of warnings about not listening to false prophets who might lead us astray, and remembering to heed his words, Jesus finishes, leaving people amazed. They’ve never heard preaching like this before. He talks with authority. He talks like he actually knows God, like, personally?

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