Friday, January 29, 2016

Daily Devotional: January 29


Day Five, The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter Five

Today's reading is the first section of the most famous sermon ever preached. Whether all these teachings we now call the "Sermon on the Mount" are all part of one sermon, or are a collection of teachings Jesus made throughout His ministry, we aren't sure. I am sure that if someone were to take a page of my Bible every day for the rest of my life, I would ask them to take these pages last. 

Are you good enough? Do you need to be?

Jesus starts this sermon with what I like to think of as a sort of spoken word poem. The beatitudes in the beginning of Matthew 5 turn the values of the Jesus' culture inside out. Our culture is no different. Imagine an instagram post, capturing an image of a slum somewhere in the third world. Let's say a family in the Philippines who lives on less than two dollars a day is posing in this picture. The world has done nothing for them. They are the unwanted rejects of the global economy, the people who fall through the cracks in the system. Imagine another picture of a homeless man sleeping on a freezing bench in downtown Denver. He can't afford the medicine he needs for his mental health, and doesn't even know he needs it. Could you imagine the caption of these pictures reading "#Blessed" unironically? 

Jesus can. He calls them blessed. He calls them loved. He calls them wanted. Poor in spirit and in pocket, but blessed. The reason Jesus hung out with the rejects of his society is because He valued them. He didn't feel sorry for them, He loved them. Jesus takes groups of people who the systems of power don't need and tells them they will one day inherit the whole stinking thing. 

Are you good enough? Do you need to be?

Jesus then goes into a morality lesson where he heaps on more rules on top of the existing Law of Moses. He does this to draw attention to the impossibility of being good enough. If you're attempting to keep all the rules, you will always come up short. 

Then He issues the statement on loving enemies. Doing good to those who do you wrong. Treating people out of your humanity even when they aren't acting out of theirs. Christ then issues the statement "You are to be whole, as your heavenly Father is whole." Sometimes this gets translated as "perfect" or "holy," but whole works as well. God treats everyone the same. He causes good things to happen to the evil and to the good. 

Are you good enough? Do you need to be?

You can't be good enough by following the rules. It's OK, Jesus doesn't give this sermon because He expects you to be. He is showing you how to live your life in a way that mirrors the Father, knowing you can't do it without Him. You are already good enough for His love. As He grows in your life, you should look more like the One who loved you first.

Sit in silence. How much do you remind people of your Father?

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.