In Galilee, there is a place called the Mt. Beatitudes. Bible scholars have identified it as the place where Jesus preached what is called as the Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6). Before I went to Israel, I cannot imagine how can Jesus preach and be heard by the people. Seeing the actual place, I can now see how Jesus did it. Jesus utilized the wind coming from the Sea of Galilee. He was on top of the mountain, his back on Lake Tiberias or Lake Gennesaret (other names of the Sea of Galilee), and his voice was carried to the listeners.
The Sermon on the Mount is called by scholars as the ethics of the kingdom of God. If there are a few chapters that you want to read first in the Bible, then these would be it. The Sermon includes the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, and imperative commands to be followed. Let me cite three lessons.
First, bear in mind that in the Beatitudes the key element in receiving the blessings in the second part is in the beginning.
For example, we can never receive the blessing of seeing God if we are not pure in heart. We can never be called sons and daughters of God if we are not peacemakers. We can never be filled if we do not hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Second, the Lord’s Prayer is teaching us that the heart of every prayer is about seeking the will of God and doing it.
Jesus is warning us not to follow the style of hypocrites who pray but do not practice what they prayed for, or to be like the pagans who babble a lot of words. We have to pray earnestly for God sees what is in our heart.
Third, the Sermon on the Mount contains commands that should be followed. These imperative words are not mere ideals but every Christian must do it.
Jesus is expecting that when He said, “You are the light of the world”, “You are the salt of the Earth” or “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, we have to follow it.
I invite you to read and meditate on the Sermon on the Mount. May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on