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Archive for March 24th, 2010

Shifting Gears

In light of the glorious stories in the previous chapters, stories that reflect the power associated with this new gospel, chapter 6 may at first seem a little flat – it did for me.  In a way it is, but seeing what I finally saw in it, I no longer regard it as flat.

I have always had at least a little trouble with some of the things Jesus said during His ‘Sermon on the Mount’, which this is Luke’s account of.  I have always read it as if it were all said to the same group of ordinary people which contained, as any ordinary group would, some who were poor and some who were rich.  To simply read as, ‘blessed are the poor’ and ‘woe to the rich’, does not totally add up on its own.

But if you add the element of the ‘poor’ in one group and the ‘Pharisees’ in the other, it makes sense; it adds up.  The Pharisees were looking for a reason to accuse Him.  In a group this large, they would have been there.  So with these two groups in mind, Jesus says what He says.

To the poor, He has compassion and tries to comfort and encourage them.  To the rich, and not just the rich, but the Pharisees who see themselves as rich, He has warning and woe.  To the poor, He encourages to love their enemies.  Again to the poor, with undertones of reference to the Pharisees, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them”.

Either to the poor for the Pharisees to hear, or directly to the Pharisees Jesus says, ‘Do not judge’, ‘Do not condemn’, ‘forgive’; all things that the Pharisees were guilty of and needed to hear.  And by now, if not already, Jesus turns His attention completely to the Pharisees; “Why do you look at the spec of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay not attention to the plank in your own eye”?

Though it is not good to make a habit out of saying, ‘so and so really needed to hear that’ missing what might have been for you, but sometimes I believe it is good to realize that something might not be as much for you as someone else.  You can grind yourself to a pulp by trying to fine tune yourself to perfection. 

Jesus did some pretty cool stuff prior to this day.  The physical healings were at least somewhat responsible for the crowds that had gathered.  But at least for a while on this day, He shifts gears and tried to heal people’s minds, which I would bet the harder of the two.

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