Thursday, November 6, 2014

NTDS (9): Amazed!

Matt 7:28-29  "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law."  NIV

Jesus has just finished giving the most famous message of all time, the Sermon on the Mount. In this message, He has certainly given a new take on the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures. He used the phrase, “You have heard it said… but I tell you…” amplifying the true meaning of scripture and revealing the heart of God the Father. When He used that phrase, He was letting the people know that He had more authority to comment on the scriptures than anyone else. The crowds recognized this and it amazed them.

This teaching was radically different than what His followers had heard in the past. He started by giving a list of those who were “blessed,” which was certainly a different group than the supposedly righteous leaders would think. It included the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart and more. He told His followers that they were the salt of the earth and light of the world and that they should rejoice when they are persecuted for following Him. He warned about the hypocrisy of those do good deeds in order to be admired by men.

He taught them how to have meaningful prayer and how to prioritize the different areas of their life, starting with putting their relationship with God above all else. He reminded them of God’s great love for them and His desire to bless their life. He also let them know that the way of salvation is a narrow path and it goes through Him and Him alone. He spoke about forgiveness and the attitudes of the heart. You might say that Jesus covered just about everything concerning how to live life as a believer in Him.

Probably the most radical thing Jesus said is in Chapter 6, verse 17. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” NIV  This statement would set Him apart from any other rabbi. Imagine what these people must have thought when Jesus said that He had come to fulfill the scriptures.

It was not the first time He had claimed this. In the book of Luke, Jesus quoted Isa 61: 1-2 saying, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD."  He then followed up with this,  "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." NASU (Luke 4:21-22).  The listeners of that time would know that passage as Messianic and that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. At first they were amazed as well, but that quickly turned to rage against Him as they drove Him out of Nazareth.

Read chapters 5-8 of the book of Matthew and see if you aren’t amazed at the things Jesus said. Look at the challenges He gives to us as believers concerning how we are to live our lives. It certainly goes against the thinking of this world. They are amazing statements!
But, it is not enough to look upon the statements of Jesus as amazing and authoritative or even to look upon Him as amazing. We must decide what we are going to do about what He said.

If you are a believer, I challenge you to look at every statement in the Sermon on the Mount and see if your walk is in keeping with what Jesus says. If not, confess those areas where you are falling short and receive the wonderful forgiveness He has for you. 1 John 1:9 says, “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” NASU

If you are not a believer, I challenge you to look at what Jesus says in these chapters of the Bible. I believe you will be amazed as well and I pray that it will draw you to follow Him and surrender your heart to this amazing Messiah!

God bless you

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