The Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.  He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”   (Mt. 5-7)

We had just finished a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We gathered at the bottom of a hill where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.  I laid down in the grass, closed my eyes, and listened to the sermon being read. I tried to visualize those who first heard Jesus’ words.  It must have sounded like He had just been talking to God—which, of course, He had.

Jesus began the sermon with a series of Beatitudes, which turned the world upside down—or perhaps I should say right side up.

Jesus proceeded to give those disciples a spectacular mission to save the world, through being salt to prevent rot and light to scatter the darkness.

As Jesus was speaking to the people on this mount, they knew they had never heard anyone speak with such clarity, authority, and power.  It was clear that Jesus wanted both outward observance of the law and inner transformation.

Listening to Jesus’ sermon being read at the bottom of that “mountain,” I felt at peace and electrified.   His words were both comforting and disconcerting.  His words demanded that I look at my life in radically different ways.  His words reignited my conviction to bear witness to Jesus in a world that desperately needs to know Him.

I encourage you to find a quiet spot.  Either read through the sermon, Matthew 5-7, or watch the video below by clicking on the picture.

Next, close your eyes. Try to visualize that you’re part of a crowd.  Watch the reactions of those around you.  Pay careful attention to your own.  Keep on praying until you hear Jesus speaking directly to you. Trust that when you hear Jesus speaking, you are hearing the voice of God.

You will know you are hearing Jesus speak when you feel both at peace and electrified, comforted and challenged.  When you feel both convicted to change and to serve, trust that Jesus has just brought you into the most important sermon ever given.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Try doing some work with the first beatitude. When have you been “poor in spirit?” During those times, did you ever feel blessed with God’s peace, strength, courage, or love?  If so, how?
  1. During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, “You are salt of the earth…” Salt flavors. Salt preserves.  How might Jesus be calling you to flavor and preserve your life, home, work, and relationships?
  1. After reading the sermon, or after it has been read to you, what do you hear Jesus saying to you?  What could He be asking you to do?  How have you been comforted?  How have you been challenged?

 

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