January 5, Reading 3 – Matthew 5:1-20

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Jesus begins this sermon with a benediction – it’s not at the end as is usual in sermons. Jesus has come to bless. He ends His sermon with warnings of the curse. What beatitude speaks most to you? Why?

SJA Notes

Jesus opens His sermon with blessing. How good is that for us, for all who have heard these words since those folk who sat up on a mountain and heard the voice of the Creator God bring them good news!

Remember too that God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword, living and active (Hebrews 4).

The blessings are coin-truths. If you are NOT poor in spirit, be warned. If you are NOT mourning, meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peace-making, persecuted for righteousness’ sake, reviled and persecuted and have had evil (untrue) things said about you – If these are foreign experiences for you – Be careful!

Jesus points us to a very hard word, as He speaks of salt that has lost its flavour, “It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Let us not be in danger of being thrown out – instead let us be salt and light in this world, powered by and through Jesus, able to withstand the temptations that the world throws at us in God’s strength (1 Cor 10:13).

Let’s be encouraged and exhorted, chastened even if need be, to shine the light of the gospel, the good news of Jesus, to those around us!

* Loving Father,

We come before You in repentance and belief. Please save and sanctify us today Lord God, and onwards.

Mark us as a faithful people, who are salt and light in this world, shining Jesus to the world around us.

Prepare us for persecution, and open our eyes to see You, as Stephen did while they stoned him.

Amen.

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