Books are often in my hands. I am always looking for a book. Not the same book . . but whatever book I'm needing at the time. Throughout our marriage, especially prior to moving to the condo, Jerry would need me to take something from him . . such as produce from the garden.
WHAT IS IN YOUR HANDS?
I would 'drop' carefully whatever was in my hands and open them to what he wanted to give me . . usually garden produce to be washed and processed. This is what happens . . must happen . . when we hear the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount from the mouth of Jesus in Matthew 5. It's not just our hands. It's an inside job. You could say "Insider Trading". More on that later. First our scripture:
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying . . . Matthew 5:1-2
JESUS GIVES HIS CORE TEACHING
In those days when a Jewish Rabbi was ready to teach, he would sit down. It was also common for the teacher to actually open his mouth prior to speaking. This was a sign he was opening his heart and pouring out what was in his mind. Note that Jesus was teaching His disciples. However, the crowd was near and were surely listening as much as they could.
The focus of Jesus was righteous living for those in His Kingdom in God's family. For the Jews of that day, it was a message about the spirit of the law and repenting. That contrasted the ways of the scribes and Pharisees. These principles apply to you and me today.
Can you picture listening through all of chapters 5, 6 and 7 without stopping? The disciples and the crowd would have been exhausted. It is one thing to read these powerful words and pause from time to time. Barclay states they must have been "dazzled with light" long before the end.
When Jerry was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, he was hospitalized to monitor the amount of the med he would need to control it safely. We attended a class on the heart and this subject. We were in a room where the entire wall in front of us was a 'blackboard of sorts' where the physician in charge made diagrams and explanations as he taught us. It was 2 hours long. My brain lost concentration at 1 hour and needed a break. We didn't have one. I took notes but the 2nd hour had fewer notes and less understanding.
Jerry follows what the Dr. prescribed. We take his blood pressure every day twice a day prior to his taking the med. The doctor told Jerry if you monitor your B/P and take this med, the Atrial Fibrillation will be kept in check. The Dr. knows. The Dr. diagnoses, he prescribes and He foretells the result.
That is what Jesus will be saying in the Beatitudes and the entire Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knows. Jesus diagnoses, He prescribes and He foretells what will happen. It is an inside job. It happens in our Spirit. We trade so to speak what we used to be for life in the Kingdom of God.
Some scholars believe that this was the main message of Jesus which was repeated to His disciples over and over: character comes before conduct. It is not what you have or what you do. At first it is a question of WHAT you are.
Are you prepared to obey what Jesus tells us? Am I prepared to obey?