Day Seven: Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
Bible Lesson: Matthew 5:17-48
Reflection from Pastor Wayne Eberly:
“Search me, O God ”
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with special words of blessing for those who are poor in spirit and those who mourn. When Jesus turns his attention to the commands of God about murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, vengeance, and loving others…even our enemies…especially our enemy, his words might well cause us to experience a deep poverty within our heart and to mourn at our inability to follow God’s word completely.
Knowing that as Paul wrote, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, perhaps we can approach these difficult words of Jesus as an expression of God’s glory.
- Our God is not only opposed to murder, but to all things that take life from another human being, even the words we speak
- Our God is not only opposed to adultery, but to all things that would demean and degrade another person by making them an object of our lust.
Reading these words about God’s Word by the one who is the Word of God made flesh, the Word of God who dwelt among us and revealed to us the glory of God, listening to Jesus speak about these holy commands provides us with a unique opportunity to get an inner look at God’s Word. Many of God’s commands are stated in terms of, “Thou shalt not….” Thus, many of the commands make known to us what God is against, what God is opposed to, what God tells us not to do. Commands often tell us what God is against. As Jesus speaks, his words help us understand what God is for. Can you hear Jesus telling you what you are to do? Can you hear Jesus telling you what you are to be? Can you? Can we?
The words Jesus speaks in today’s passage cause us to look within ourselves, to examine ourselves, to search ourselves, to search our hearts. There is a psalm that might prove helpful to read along with this section of the Sermon on the Mount. Psalm 139 begins with these words, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me…” What follows is a beautiful reflection on the intimacy we share with our God, the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb, who knows us inside and out. Assured that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, the psalmist ends with a heartfelt prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139: 24)
May we allow Jesus to search our hearts. May we allow Jesus to lead us in the way that is everlasting.
“’The Lord who accompanies us on our journey offers his own cheek to slaps and his shoulders to whips, to the increase of his glory’. (Hilary of Poitier) We are called here to love as God loves. This cannot be done out of our own resources. So this is no admonition to try harder—if it were, it would indeed be recipe for despair. It is a plan of action rooted in the promise to be made ‘children of your father in heaven’. (Matthew 4:45) The Sermon here and elsewhere is a portrait of the very heart of God, one who loves the unlovable, comes among us in Christ, suffers our worst, and rises to forgive us. Turn the cheek, give the cloak, go another mile, lend, love the enemy—because that is how God loves. If you want to follow this God, fleshed in Jesus, you will be adopted into a life in which you find yourself loving this way before you know what you are doing.” (Jason Byassee, “Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume I, p. 382)