CLIFF NOTES SERMON ON THE MOUNT, PART II: We've already seen how Luke condenses some of the same teachings of Jesus recorded in Matthew. Whereas Matthew bundled most of Jesus' teachings together in one section of his gospel, Luke spreads them out a bit more. So who's right? Did Jesus speak all these words in one location, as recorded in Matthew, or did He teach these things in different locations like it says in Luke? Well, they're both right! Jesus didn't have Twitter and hordes of cameras following Him around broadcasting His messages, so it's very likely that He often repeated parables and teachings in each new community He visited. This helps us understand why the gospel writers record things slightly differently, because it's very reasonable that each time He repeated these things He used slightly different words.
PRAY AGGRESSIVELY: Like so many things in our theology, there needs to be a healthy tension in our prayer life. On one hand, we come humbly, putting all of our focus on the One we are praying to. On the other hand, Jesus here invites us to come boldly, asking straight up for what we want. In fact, He says that "everyone who asks receives" (v10). Now we all can remember specific things we've asked for in prayer that did not materialize, so what gives? Notice that every time Jesus makes a statement like this, it comes in the context of first teaching the A.A.A. prayer method (see below).
MORE BLESSED THAN THE BLESSED MOTHER? Of course we know our Roman Catholic friends revere Mary the mother of Jesus, and after reading her beautiful song and seeing the way she handled the situations we read about at the beginning of Luke, we see why all people should hold her in high esteem. Yet look how Jesus turns the compliment a woman in the crowd gave calling His mother blessed. In a sense He says, yes, she's blessed for sure, but even more blessed is the person who hears the Word of God and obeys it (v28).
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern that Jesus teaches (v2-4):
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is our Father, who lives not on earth but in Heaven, and His name is holy (seperate from and above all created things)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God that His Kingdom will be evident in your life, so that the things you do and say will reflect the way things are done in heaven right here on Earth. Pray that you will follow His will and not succumb to temptation.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: After reminding yourself who God is and aligning yourself with His will rather than your own sinful ambitions, you can boldly ask God for whatever you need and want. The want/need at the top of all of our lists should be forgiveness of our own sins and forgiveness of those who have wronged us. What else would you like to ask God for?