Sermon on the Mount…

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Matthew 5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

This passage is referred to as the “Sermon on the Mount”, one of the most famous passages in all of scripture. Chapter 4 of Matthew tells us Jesus had been teaching, preaching, and healing people – Jews and non-Jew alike. He’s quite the rock star by this time and large crowds are following him. So he goes up on a mountain to speak the words above.

As he looks at the crowd of people who does he see? Was it the wealthy? The powerful? Those in command? I don’t think so. I expect the people gathered were the sorts of persons he mentions in the sermon: the poor, the meek, those suffering from injustice, and so on. They are on the margins. They are the kinds of people desperate enough to leave everything and follow Jesus because, honestly, they have little to lose. Then we pick up a new section beginning with v.13.

Jesus teaches about his followers being “salt” and “light” to those around them. What I find interesting is that Jesus chooses these people to be his messengers to the world: the nobodies, the dropouts, the people born on the wrong side of the tracks. They weren’t “qualified” in any normal sense, but they were his chosen anyway. And it worked. So it is with you and me brothers and sisters. We are called to be ambassadors for Jesus – in spite of all our shortcomings. It’s simply God’s way, so take comfort in that. Lord let it be so. Amen.

 

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