Have you been paying attention? There has been a common theme, these last few weeks, of raising the stakes and expectations upon what it means to be a follower of Christ. It began as we joined the disciples and crowds who gathered along the shores of Galilee to hear these teaching statements when they were first delivered. We gather, today, to reflect upon what it means to live for Christ.
Throughout this study of Matthew 5, we’ve talked about some difficult and challenging passages and how they apply to our lives. If you remember, we said Jesus gathered this group together to express what the kingdom of God was all about. This was after people were curious about Jesus after he began preaching and healing throughout Capernaum and Galilee. As the crowds gathered around him, Jesus wasn’t interested in creating a popular movement that gave people what they wanted to hear. He wasn’t there to please the people.
He came to raise the expectations by expressing what it means to follow God and live out our faith. Jesus does not desire disciples who merely just show up or claim a faith in God but never put it into practice. He is interested in disciples – followers of Christ – who seek to become less of their own self and more like Christ every day. Continue reading “Why So Angry?”
Jesus was busy at work.
It was early in Jesus’ earthly ministry and he was traveling throughout the Galilean countryside showing the depths of God’s love through his actions. He healed the sick and those who faced diseases. He taught in the synagogues and announced God’s kingdom had arrived.
Jesus was busy at work and the people were amazed. Matthew tells us a large crowd, which included his 12 primary disciples, gathered around him wanting to know more. They had questions and knew Jesus had answers. Of all the questions they possibly had for Jesus the one they likely wanted answered was this: What does it mean to follow Jesus? The crowd wanted to know more about God’s kingdom and wanted to hear from Jesus about how to be a part of it.
So, Matthew tells us, Jesus finds a hillside near the Sea of Galilee and takes a seat. In Jesus’ time, religious teachers would sit down when they taught. It was symbolic of having authority. Jesus sits and begins teaches with authority about what it means to be apart of God’s kingdom, because he is the Word and the One who is the way to truth and life. He looks out at the crowd and says if you want to experience God’s kingdom then your life must reflect God’s character and love. Followers of Jesus, he says, are those who live differently and take on the radical, counter-cultural, and challenging life Jesus offers and allow this life to inform their actions. Continue reading “Fan or Followers: Followers Live Differently”