DID JESUS PLAY TO A PACKED HOUSE? The hills of Galilee (pictured above) are very similar to the hills where we came from in Washington State. One cool feature about the little valleys and swails in these kids of rolling hills is the fact that it forms natural amphitheaters, making it quite possible for hundreds or even thousands of people to hear one person speak. Although there were times when Jesus spoke to these sorts of large crowds, I don't think this was one of them. Look at how the chapter begins: "Jesus saw the crowd, went up on a hillside... His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them." Who is the antecedent for them? The crowd or the disciples? Likely just the disciples were, at least at the beginning (compare with 7:28), being taught by their master, away from the crowd. The lesson here is this teaching is not for the whole world, it's for people like you: disciples of Jesus.
THIS IS A 3+ PEPPERMINT SERMON: This sermon goes on for two & a half chapters, covering multiple topics. We see some of these topics covered in other gospels using very similar or even the same wording, but not in this sort of setting. A couple of possibilities explain this. It's possible that Jesus did not cover all of this teaching at this particular point, but that Matthew included teaching from Jesus' entire ministry and wrote it all in sequence. This is a very acceptable way of historical reporting in Greek & Roman literature. The other possibility is that Jesus told the same parables and teachings in multiple locations (since he couldn't just tweet it or post a few memes for everyone to see at once).
LOOK FOR THE PATTERNS: Whether Jesus said this all at once, or over three years, the Sermon on the Mount has definite patterns to it. It starts of with the Beatitudes, which knock conventional wisdom flat on its back. Then it goes into how Christians must stand out in the world, and then begins a whole series of antithesis: six sections where Jesus says "You have heard that it was said... But I say..." These patterns are helpful to notice because you can use one section to help interpret other sections.
Today we're going to take a little break from the AAA prayer pattern. Pray through the Beatitudes asking God to give you these characteristics.
GOOD FRIDAY &
RESURRECTION DAY CELEBRATIONS
Friday: service will post at 6 PM, but since there are no interactive elements to it, you can watch it anytime Friday night.
Sunday Morning: Service will post at 9:30 AM. There are several interactive elements where we can share fellowship, so try to participate then, but the service will be available all day long.
Sunday Evening: We close our day of rest in the Psalms, with a time of prayer, and a short lesson about the importance of what's at stake in Genesis 1:1 with Dr. Ligon Duncan. After the service, we will facilitate a Zoom based Q&A time about difficulties we experience in interpreting what the Bible teaches about creation science. This service will begin at 6 PM.
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