January 19

Text: Matthew 5:1

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

Opportunity!  Wise is the person who sees and responds to potential the moment it presents itself.  Often we are so preoccupied with the disappointments of the immediate that we fail to see the far-reaching arms of opportunity.  We can become so regretfully focused on what is not that we never see the potential before us.  Nowhere does that happen more often than in the spiritual “I wish we had” rather than using what we have.  Potential is often not the result of “having” but of “doing.”

Jesus faced an extremely difficult task in his ministry.  His challenge: to change basic religious concepts.  Few things are as difficult to change as are concepts!  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus will address the basic Jewish concept of what it means to be righteous.  He will emphasize a totally new concept of righteousness.  The concept Jesus emphasized was God’s ancient intent for people.  The problem: Israel failed to grasp God’s intent.

Matthew 5-7 is not a grouping of random remarkable ideas (the ideas are remarkable).  Jesus was challenging the long held Jewish concept of what it meant to be righteous.  The person’s concept of righteousness is fundamental to the way he/she approaches God’s will.  What one does religiously is shaped in specific ways by what he/she believes about the manner that righteousness expresses itself.

Suggestion for reflection: Will you allow Jesus the right to change your concepts?  (Read Luke 18:9-14.)

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