The Sermon on the Mount. . .
It’s been called Jesus’ manifesto—
The Magna Carta of Christianity—
the key to the whole Bible.
You know, it’s not that long.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
can be read or listened to—
in its entirety—
in just 12-13 minutes.
That’s shorter than Steve Jobs’
“Stanford Commencement Address”—
which took 14 minutes and 45 seconds.
That’s much shorter than
the average “State of the Union” address
which usually takes about an hour.
You know it would take half the time to read it
or listen to it
than it does to watch
an episode of “the Office” or
“Parks and Recreation.”
Or about a quarter of the time it takes
to watch an episode of “the Walking Dead”
or the “Game of Thrones.”
We could read or listen to the
Sermon on the Mount more than 8 times—
in the time it takes to
watch one UK basketball game on TV.
Or we could get through it 15 times by the
time we watch the Super Bowl.
Jesus’ sermon is just 2,247
words in our translation—
about the average word count of the
best pieces in The New York Times.
Just 2,247 words.
And every one of those 2,247 words is
packed with wisdom—
with love. . .
holding our future—
whether good or ill—
and as a society.
Our future as individuals?
the great American novelist. . . .
Slaughterhouse-Five among others
made this comment—
even though he was not a Christian:
If Christ hadn’t delivered the Sermon on the Mount,
with its message of mercy and pity,
I wouldn’t want to be a human being.
I would just as soon be a rattlesnake.
Our future as a society, the future of the world?
Lord Irwin, a former British viceroy to India,
asked Mahatma Gandi:
“Mahatma, as man to man,
tell me what you consider to be the
solution to the problems of
your country and mine.”
And Gandhi reached over,
picked up a book that was
sitting on his lampstand—
and he open the book to the 5th Chapter of
the Gospel of Matthew and said:
“When your country and mine
shall get together on the
teachings laid down by Christ in
this Sermon on the Mount,
we shall have solved the problems not
only of our countries
but those of the whole world.”
Gandhi was born in 1869 and
was assassinated in 1948 . . . .
So he had lived during both
World War I and World War II.
And had made the observation that
Christians had given up on the
teachings on the Sermon on the Mount.
“. . . .much of what passes as Christianity is
a negation of the Sermon on the Mount.”
Just 2,247 words!!!
Anybody seen the movie 1917—
about World War I.
If you haven’t seen it—
it’s a phenomenal movie.
Guess how many causalities there
were in World War I?
Around 41 million!!!
21 million wounded and
20 million deaths. . . .
And guess what?
The countries involved were all Christian countries.
To quote one commentator:
“For five awful years,
an orgy of violence broke out among baptized people—
English, French, Canadian,
American, Russian, and Belgian Christians—
slaughtering German, Austrian, Hungarian,
and Bulgarian Christians. (Bishop Barron)
20 million dead.
And World War II—
was even worse.
It was the deadliest
military conflict in history.
An estimated total of 70–85 million people died.
American General Omar Bradley—
an eye witness to this human carnage
We live in a world of nuclear giants
and ethical infants,
in a world that has achieved brilliance
power without conscience.
We have solved the mystery of the atom and
forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount.
We know more about war than
we know about peace,
more about dying than we know about living.
The Sermon on the Mount
takes just 12-13 minutes to read straight through. . . .
it’s just 2,247 words!!!
packed with wisdom and purpose and love—
it holds our future—
whether good or ill—
as a world.
Today in the Sermon,
Jesus tells us how dangerous anger is. . . .
and how we need to be careful what we call people. . . .
and about how important it is to
reconcile with those we’re in conflict with. . . .
and how dangerous lust is—
using someone as an object for our own pleasure. . .
and about how important the bond of marriage is. . . .
and how important honesty is—
“let our “yes” mean “yes” and our “no” mean “no.”
Jesus is right—
It just feels right—
For a better me—
And a better world.
What we all notice about Jesus—
Especially in His Sermon on the Mount—
is that He’s the teacher of more. . . .
Always more. . .
Always calling us deeper and deeper. . .
Never satisfied with the superficial. . .
Concerned with more than just
our exterior words and action—
we all know how phony they can be.
Jesus calls us to an interior transformation—
inviting us to nothing less than to imitate Him.
Challenging isn’t it.
Because it is so challenging,
I’ve an had interesting relationship
with this Sermon over my life.
There was a time when I said,
the Sermon on the Mount is no way to live. . .
Turn the other cheek—
Love your enemies. . .
Not in this world!!!
Everyone will just run over me.
I was basically saying
what Satan said,
“I will not serve.”
That’s a very dangerous spiritual place I was in.
Then, as I got to know Jesus,
I knew what He was saying was right.
But parts of the Sermon that were so hard—
I just kind of ignored them—
Skipping over them—
Blowing them off.
telling myself that I could be
an authentic Christian in other ways—
in all the easy ways.
That’s was a dangerous—
dangerous place to be, too.
I don’t ignore any of it.
I don’t blow it off.
It’s all true—
And I know it.
And Jesus is speaking it to me.
So, I try my best to live every word of it.
And when I fail,
which I often do. . . .
I get down on my knees
and ask God for forgiveness.
And I beg for the grace. . . .
That’s the only way the Sermon can be lived. . .
It’s only by trying our best—
and with the help of God’s grace—
we can begin to live these
great instructions of Jesus.
And when I’m there—
asking for forgiveness—
trying my best—
and begging for grace. . .
There is a peace and love.
Because when one tries their best—
And asks for grace—
there’s always about Hope.
Hope because the Word of God—
Hope because the love of God—
is like a fire that purifies us—
that transforms us—
that vivifies us. . .
so we can be more like Jesus.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. . .
Matthew 5-7. . . .
It takes just 12 to 13 minutes to listen to
or read through the whole thing. . . .
Just 2,247 words.
Holy Spirit 02/15-16/2020