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Sermon on the Mount

Jesus has just called some of his disciples to follow him. So they did and he says to them, “How blessed are those who are here in this kingdom. They are different than the world. They are like light in a dark place. They not only do what is right, they feel what is right too. They do the right things for the right reasons. They aren’t afraid. They don't try to play at being God, and they are always asking God for wisdom. They are perfect.”

Well at that moment, I’m sure the disciples looked at one another and wondered, “Who’s perfect? I’m not perfect. Neither are you. Maybe we’re in the wrong place.” Or maybe some of them started to think, “Gosh, I’m pretty far away from that perfection. I better start getting my act together so I’m good enough to stay here.” Still others might’ve said, “That’s impossible! No one can live like that. We’re human after all. Not only do we do wrong things, we have wrong thoughts and motives.” And I think that Jesus could’ve taken any of these wonderings to the place of truth. 

Jesus has invited the disciples into his kingdom, and his only requirement of them so far has been that they follow him. They are in. Now Jesus is explaining to them what is to come, the operation that will now commence upon their hearts. He is saying that to be part of his kingdom is to be transformed from the inside out. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of surgeries, a lot of time, but God will not stop until he has made us. Perfect. We are in the right place. For we are where the sick people are made well.

For the followers, and anyone who heard these standards of perfection and tried to follow them, they would’ve soon discovered the shocking truth. Effort is not enough. They’ve tried to be perfect, and it didn't work. Indeed we all must try because it is through trying that we’re reminded that we simply cannot. We need someone else operating the controls inside this stubborn heart. We need new hearts really. We need a heart that wants to obey for that is what we owe God. It’s our obligation to him. An obligation that we find we cannot keep. 

What gives? We are lost! No one can keep this obligation!

And if Jesus’ disciples came to this conclusion by the end of the Sermon on the Mount, then they were in a good place. Because these teachings of perfection lead us to see that while we cannot, Christ can and did. What is left to do, but for a man to say, “Okay. I can’t. I see that now. But you can. So do it. And do it in me too.”

Then Christ will look on that person and say, “How blessed are you for you are part of this kingdom, and your foundations are built on this rock. Now let the building commence!"

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