Jesus is, without a doubt, the greatest person who has ever lived. This is still true whether one views Him as God or man. Whatever the perception, the fact remains that the life and, perhaps more importantly, the death of Jesus changed the course of human history forever. His teachings for a better way of life are unsurpassed and still affect our lives today. He was and continues to be more influential than Charlemagne, George Washington, Barack Obama, Napoleon or even Alexander the Great. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be wise to study and apply His teachings to our lives, from beginning to end.
The Sermon on the Mount
By Vince Stegall
It is said by many that Jesus’ finest teaching came from Matthew 5 – 7, otherwise known as The Sermon on the Mount. It is also the passage that has become one of my main focuses for the past few months. The Sermon on the Mount is where we get the eight beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.
Many believe that the beatitudes were meant to comfort suffering believers. But, we see in chapter five of Matthew that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake and that people in mourning will be comforted. We also read that the meek shall inherit the earth; and if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled. Jesus also said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” In addition, the pure in heart will see God, the peacemakers will be called the sons of God and one can consider it a blessing to be persecuted for His name’s sake.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated: “Ye are the salt of the earth.” Salt is a seasoning that will affect its surroundings. Pour salt on a tomato and the tomato tastes like salt, not vice versa. Jesus was teaching us to affect this world rather than be affected by it. He also said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Since believers are the light, we should never try to hide our light! We are meant to be a lighthouse, not a candle hidden under a bushel.
Jesus really helped the New Testament church by giving us a model prayer—The Lord’s Prayer. He took the traditions of prayer and completely gave them a new meaning. Many people did not like this new way of approaching God. The fact is that Jesus was getting rid of religious viewpoints and encouraging love relationships. He was making everyone aware that God is not an unapproachable being, but rather a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Jesus was saying, don’t pray like the hypocrites or the heathens with their public displays and vain repetitions, but communicate like you are my bride, with love, compassion and faith. And do it for me, not for anyone else.
If you really wish to alter your life in the sight of God, the Sermon on the Mount is a wonderful guide. The principles that Jesus taught in “History’s Greatest Sermon” are easily practiced by those who have been born again through the salvation provided by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. If we develop a personal relationship with God through prayer and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then everything else needed shall be added unto us!