Friday, January 11, 2019

EmmDev 2019-01-11 [Sermon on the Mount] The Price


The Price

Yesterday we saw how Jesus used the idea of blessing to completely transform people's picture of God.

His next point of emphasis is sobering...
"Blessed are you when people when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."

The other "Blessed" sayings are in the third-person - they are described with "the" and "those": Blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those that mourn... but this "blessed" is is in the second person "you" (or, better put, "youse" or "y'all") which makes it more personal. He's applying it directly to those who hear His words. (Preaching is a powerful if not dangerous thing!)

A new picture of God, broken out of the stereotypes of privilege and prosperity, is a cage-rattler. If God is not only the God of the privileged and the prosperous, but especially the God of the poor, the downtrodden, the knocked down and the righteousness-hungry, then it means that those who know and love this God will be found among the the ones He is with - the "least of these".

This is an uncomfortable picture for the comfortable. (Someone once said that Jesus came to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable).

Throughout His ministry Jesus was misrepresented, misjudged and ultimately mistreated by the comfortable. A new picture of God will cause us to behave differently and re-evaluate our value systems. People won't always understand when we leave behind the trappings of comfort and wealth to serve uncomfortably.

When this happens, we need to dwell, not on what is done to us, but on the fact that we're in the company of the prophets and saints that have gone before us.

And ultimately we're in His company too...

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
      (Matthew5:11-12)


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