Continuing the Conversation … from Aug 9

I take an odd sense of comfort from what are often called the Hard Sayings of Jesus. Hard Sayings are those words of Jesus that aren’t easily explained or obeyed. For example, when Jesus talks about “hating” parents, siblings and family (Lk. 14:26), taking from the poor and giving to the rich (Mk. 4:25) and many others. One can turn to nearly any page in the Gospels and find one of these sayings of Jesus that is hard to grasp and/or harder to follow. It seems to me that the Sermon on the Mount is full of these. (These happen to be ones that are not so hard to understand as they are to obey.)

This past weekend we explored one of these hard sayings that shows up at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Here it is:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!   – Mat 24:21-23

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Continuing the Conversation … 7/12 and CBR Tonight!

(Don’t forget the Roadshow tonight!) We’ve been making our way through the Sermon on the Mount. Yes, it has been a long journey (one we started last fall) but an important one. Important, because the Sermon contains within it much of what Jesus wants us to know about life in his Kingdom. If we are saved by Jesus’ death, given life by his resurrection, then it is not hard to see that we are shown how to live by his life. As the smartest man who ever lived Jesus has a thing or two to tell us about how to live life to the fullest. Much of it is found in the Sermon on the Mount.

There is an African proverb that goes something like this: “When you see you neighbors beard on fire start pouring water on your own.”

Also from Africa, we hear the Jewish philosopher Philo say: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

And we hear from Jesus words that communicate something eerily similar:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:37-38, NIV

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