December 6

Text: Matthew 5:1, 2

And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying . . .  (NASB)

Matthew viewed Jesus as a teacher who changed basic concepts.  A teacher can do many things.  He (she) can underscore and reaffirm what a person already knows.  He (she) can introduce the student to new information and facts.  He (she) can deepen the studentís understanding of what the student knows.  He (she) can challenge the studentís concepts.  He (she) can transform the studentís concepts.  He (she) may do all or any combination of that.

The most demanding challenge in teaching focuses on challenging and transforming concepts.  This objective in teaching is difficult for three basic reasons.  (1) The teacher must have an in-depth understanding of the concept.  (2) The teacher must be a skilled communicator.  The teacherís understanding must be communicated in a manner that the pupil can comprehend.  (3) The pupil must be willing to travel beyond his or her current grasp without feeling personally threatened.

There is a fine line that separates prejudice and conviction.  Conviction must never be based on nor defended by ignorance.  When attempts are made to defend correct concepts by ignorance, correct concepts appear to be invalid.  When incorrect concepts are defended by seemingly valid information, incorrect concepts appear to be true.  Thus, dependable teaching is a demanding responsibility!

The theme of the ďsermon on the mountĒ (Matthew 5-7) focuses on Godís concept of righteousness.            The concept of righteousness was not a new idea.  For example, consider Genesis 15:6, or Deuteronomy 24:10-13, or Psalm 9:7-10, or Isaiah 26:7-10.  Jesus was not focusing on a new concept, but asking his disciples to replace their current human concept with Godís concept.  That was an enormous challenge!

Suggestion for reflection: How does your concept of righteousness differ from Godís concept?  (Read Romans 1:16, 17.)

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