Imagine yourself included in the intimate group of disciples just recently chosen by Jesus. You’ve witnessed him teaching:invigorating new perspectives on the Scriptures, followed by spectacular, unprecedented healings of both physical and mental illnesses. These powerful acts have prompted expanding crowds to follow his every step.
As reported in Matthew 4, Jesus prefaced his teaching with these words: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.” Here’s my paraphrase for those squeamish about using the words “Repent” and “Heaven”:
“Turn around and face me, listen deeply, and follow me in my Eternal Kingdom Way.”
One day, in the midst of an assembled multitude, you hear Jesus call your intimate group of disciples together for a teaching session you sense is momentous. Will you eagerly embrace his teaching as you hear for the first time his majestic overview of the attitudes and lifestyle expected in his Kingdom?
During these next few weeks, as our inner thoughts are freshly challenged by the extraordinary Kingdom Jesus describes in his “Sermon on the Mount”, please reflect on the following short phrases:
After Jesus’ baptism, and before beginning his ministry, he was tested by the Prince of This World. Jesus repeated the following phrase before quoting pertinent Scripture to dismiss the power of evil:
“It is Written. . .” Matthew 4 ESV
As Jesus delivered the stunning core teachings of His Heavenly Kingdom to his disciples, he repeated this phrase as he confirmed he is the Messianic author/origin of what “is Written”.
“You have heard it said, but I say…” Matthew 5 ESV
Open your mind and heart to hear Jesus’ Kingdom overview as if you are hearing it for the first time.
For today’s exercise, meditate on the section of his Sermon on the Mount known as The Lord’s Prayer:
…“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:9-15 ESV