Today, we're walking in the footsteps of Jesus as we continue our God of Miracles series to the place where he gave his famous Sermon On The Mount on the Mount of Beatitudes. In Matthew 5:3-10, Jesus begins his sermons with what we call "The Beatitudes", or blessings. These radical teachings in the Scripture actually reveal to us for the first time that Jesus is a Radical Rabbi.
In Jesus' Sermon On The Mount, he is crowded around with thousands of people intently listening to him start his message with phrases like "You have heard that it was said, eye for an eye..." See, these were actually Laws of Retaliation, which meant the punishment was equal to the crime. Now, 20 centuries later, the Law of Retaliation still governs our world. The problem is, this kind of law is never satisfying.
See, Jesus was a Radical Rabbi because he was countering the Law of Retaliation in a time of rampant retaliatory violence. The people lived in a world of "Romans vs. Rebels" - and the rebels were angry by the mistreatment they had been subjected to! But, Jesus knew "eye for an eye" justice would eventually leave the world blind... so He took a stand to seek an end to the viscous cycle with his radical message of grace and loving your enemies!
MEEK IS NOT WEAK
To the crowd of rebels ready to bring revenge on the Romans, and for our world today, Jesus taught us to "turn the other cheek" and show grace and mercy to our enemies. He taught the people how to creatively confront evil power rather than retaliate, because retaliation is not the same as confrontation. Likewise, the "meek" that Jesus said will be blessed in Matthew 5: 5 are not weak. Meekness is actually power under control. In this Scripture, Jesus says that it's actually the meek who will "inherit the earth"! Why? This is because God will only trust the world to those who know how to control their power... to those who use their power to confront evil and not retaliate and perpetuate more evil.
JESUS' RADICAL LOVE
In the end, Jesus really turned out to be the radical Rabbi who practiced what he preached. How? By literally laying down his life for his enemies. See, Jesus is our perfect example of confrontation without retaliation. He triumphed over hate and darkness with reckless love through his sacrifice on the Cross! In light of Jesus' sacrifice for you, who is the enemy in your life that you need to show the reckless love of God to? Ask God to give you the grace to love your enemies through his radical love for you and for them!