Negotiating Relationships

For the summer months, we will be navigating through the message Jesus teaches in “The Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew chapters 5 – 7.  In the sermon on the mount, Jesus digs deep into the law and character of God to reveal to the people his heart for them.  Having submitted himself to the authority of God and committed himself to the will of the Father in baptism, having withstood temptation and testing by Satan, having called his disciples, and spoken of his intentions in his home town, and continued to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near,” Jesus continues to build his own church in the temple he created: nature, yes, but more so the hearts of humans, beings he created in his very image.  We are created in His image.  Therefore, God through Jesus provides insight into ourselves and our relationships by revealing his own heart to us: his desire, motives, purpose and standards.

hand in heartGod’s heart towards us, his desire for relationship with us is the whole intent and purpose of Jesus’ teaching.  Sure, Jesus’ sermon may give good life lessons and some “life hacks” for you to live a better life, but outside of relationships in general and a relationship with God, the Father, specifically, all “blessings” you may receive from such “advice” will prove empty.

Consider this: time after time the Israelites, God’s chosen people, his bride, were unfaithful to him.  Time after time, he sent them away and called them back.  Jeremiah 3:8 says, “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.”  Then later in verse 14 he pleads: “Return, faithless people, for I am your husband.  I will choose you and bring you to Zion.”

This time, instead of sending a prophet or a judge to speak his word and rescue his people, he has come himself, in human form, as the son, Jesus.  His hope is to establish a new covenant that will extend to all nations, to build a more intimate relationship, a bridge between the divorced hearts.  Like any good man, God is not playing games.  He will not make his beloved bride guess at his desires or his intentions.  Instead he lays it clearly before all who will hear what he will bring to the relationship, himself, and what he wants of you (all of you).  To take it a step further, he lays down how he wants us to treat each other.

As a mother, nothing hurts my heart and drains me more than my children hurting each other.  My heart delights, rather, in their acts of brotherly/sisterly kindness.  So, we create “rules” that will grow and protect their relationships with each other, and with me as their mom.  How much more does God do that for us in his law??  However, his law has been misused to oppress, misread to claim self-righteousness, and misinterpreted to lead others astray.  So, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, seeks to let loose the spirit of the law, to get into the heart of each listener.

How about you?  Will you open your heart to hear the messages Jesus has for you?  He longs to have a deep and intimate relationship with you and to connect you to the Father.  Join us for each lesson to find out how the Father loves you and pursues you.


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