30 – Great Discourse
Where: Capernaum, Galilee
Listen to audio
After selecting twelve apostles Jesus planned to spend the rest of the summer in the region of Galilee. Jesus often went to a place in the hills north of the lake. There, in a valley between two ridges within a short walk of the lake, the disciples could gather around him. Then the crowds could gather around them all. And, because the crowds were slightly above Jesus and the disciples, Jesus and the disciples could all be seen and heard. Jesus came here day after day, not to heal or cast out demons, but to teach.
At least two things should be known about Jesus’ teaching.
First: Jesus believed that people must walk by faith, not by sight.
Second: Jesus taught on at least two levels, the physical and the spiritual. People would have to “see” beyond the obvious physical level to perceive the spiritual meaning.
So Jesus taught about the coming Kingdom and it’s effect on their lives now. He said that the poor would be rich, and the rich would be poor. The hungry would be filled, and the full would be hungry. Those who are suffering in their lives now will find relief and joy, and those who live in comfort now will find suffering. And the people began to believe that Jesus might be the Messiah that would lead the Jews to Paradise.
But Jesus was The Messiah. It would be a spiritual Kingdom. Those who were poor in spirit would find their lives filled with God’s Spirit. Those who hungered to be right with God would be satisfied by the Word of God. Those who suffered under the Law would find joy in God’s love.
‘You must be the salt of the Earth,’ Jesus said. ‘You must be a light to the nations’. He pointed to the city light of Safat in the hills to the north and meant that the disciple’s testimony must be a “light to the world”. ‘Notice’, Jesus said, ‘that when they light a fire in Safat, you can see it anywhere in the valley. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. You must be like Safat! You are to be a light to the world, telling everyone you meet about the coming kingdom. You must be a light to the “house” of Israel,’ Jesus continued, ‘and not hide your faith “under a bushel” so that the public cannot see it. Your faith must be public.’
‘But’, Jesus cautioned, ‘you should not exercise your faith in order to be admired by others. For if you do something so that others will be impressed, then that is the end of your reward. Let what you do be to the glory of God.’
Jesus taught about the real “trap” of the law. The law condemns those who violate ANY part of it. ALL are guilty of violating the law at some time, to some degree, and therefore stand condemned by the law. It is not just the letter of the law that matters. It is also by one’s “heart” [true intent] that one’s actions and attitudes will be judged. Anger is equal to murder. Lust is equal to Adultery. The law will condemn anyone guilty of violating either the letter or the spirit of the law.
Now, let the law be balanced by love, empathy, and compassion. This will lead to true justice. One can only be saved by being in perfect conformity with the law, or through the mercy of God.
‘In all things’, Jesus said, ‘have faith! See beyond the obvious and trust God!’
No questions have been asked yet.