Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jesus Christ the Uncompromising Challenger

Jesus Christ's teachings in the Beatitudes are nothing short of world changing. They take people's general expectations and flip them upside down. Our Lord's instructions show him to be a shocking revolutionary. In addition, Jesus was also an uncompromising challenger.

When we come to Matthew chapter five we do not see any sort of extended lead in. Rather, Jesus jumps straight into his sayings with, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Christ does not beat around the bush. He is not giving suggestions. These are not simply good ideas.

Jesus does not compromise on his expectations. Rather, this is how he expects his body to live. While we might hope for some loopholes, he provides none. Christ also makes no apologies for his lofty expectations. His followers will, albeit imperfectly, live in a way that will make them stand out from the world.

These sayings are no doubt a massive challenge to us. We might much rather talk about Jesus' death, resurrection, and the salvation this purchased for us. While those are no doubt wonderful things, the reality is that our Lord saved us in part to live a certain way. He has outlined that way in the Sermon on the Mount. What an incredible challenge for us!

It is important for us to see that these verses do more than challenge us. They also show us what an amazing person Jesus was. He not only instructed his people in how to live, but also showed them perfectly how to do this. He lived the ultimate life of humility, mercy, purity, and peacemaking. He suffered severe persecution but never retaliated. Just incredible. As if that wasn't enough, let's recall that these verses provide wonderful promises; both verses three and ten end with "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus doesn't compromise. Jesus does challenge. Jesus is also faithful to reward.

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