And, so, we come to theÂ last dayÂ of thisÂ study – I have foundÂ it to be very refreshing, and I’m bit sorry to have come to the end.
Listening to the words of Matthew 5:3-11, brought back memories of when I was last in Israel and I spend some timeÂ at the traditional spot where some think the Sermon on the Mount occurred. I recall looking over a beautiful and serene Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret)Â while listening to a group leader, read aloud these words from his Bible to his tour group: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’
As Selwyn has reminded us on a number of occasions, all who follow JesusÂ should demonstrate all of the above attributes – but we are not able to consistently express any of these attitudes by using our own strength or abilities -Â it is only by the Holy Spirit working within us that these attitudes can become a permanent part of our character. We should also be confident to ask for our loving God’s help if we feel that we need to be strengthened in any of these areas as weÂ know that He will perfectly answer our prayers.
I like this comment in today’s study: ” … not to allow ourselves to be dragged to the place of rejection but to go willingly, to thrust our shoulders under the cross and say that since Christ has borne so much for us, we will gladly bear this for Him. Whenever you are reproached because of the gospel tell yourself, ‘This is not my reproach. It is His, This is the shame of Jesus, crucified on a cross – and I am being allowed to experience somethimg of what He suffered.'”
What has been the most significant moment for youÂ over the last two months while studying the Semon on the Mount?
One more point, I found the Further Study section useful material to reflect upon, especially Revelation 22:12-15; “Behold , I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexual immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
The language used is very strong in regard to those who fail to listen or reject the gift that Jesus offersÂ – it provides a feeling of how serious this life and death issue should beÂ for us – do you agree?