10/28/16 Arguably the most famous speech in history is known as the Sermon on the Mount. Without sound system, lighting or podium, (and probably without notes), Jesus gave a message that is still making waves today. To the oppressed people living under Roman rule Jesus gave surprising…..almost ridiculous advice.
If someone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also. Rejoice when you are persecuted. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Don’t worry. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How would a kingdom based on these principles survive against mighty Rome? The reaction was one of amazement. No one spoke like this, especially the leader of a new kingdom. Most of us would have left feeling confused and disappointed.
In a world where everyone tries to get ahead Jesus honors the poor, the mourners, the meek and the hungry. How can you build a kingdom with those kinds of people?
Yet He promised to reward those characteristics.
Wealthy, independent people have a hard time identifying with the humble way of life Jesus described.
J. B. Phillips called the Sermon on the Mt. “The Great Reversal.” Consider the people that impressed Jesus:
A widow who put her last two coins in an offering. A woman with five ex-husbands. A dishonest tax collector who climbed a tree to see him. Most of us hate asking for help. We love our self-sufficiency. But desperate people rely on God. They are convinced they can’t make it without him. That's where I need to be.
The deepest people I know are those who live by the concepts of Jesus’ great sermon. Their ego has taken a back seat. They are quick to offer mercy without discrimination. They are happy to serve anytime, anywhere. Most of their work is unseen and seldom discussed but the fruit of their efforts is clear.
Once a guy told me that if I wanted to live the Sermon on the Mount it was easy. Simply do the opposite of your natural reaction.
That’s the great reversal that pleases our Maker.
Be strong and courageous……and be desperate and humble. MB