I can imagine my trek across the planet from every cancer ward in Western Culture, to every medical shack in war-torn Rwanda, as far as the Eastern edges of the Orient – I’d be on a mission to heal them all. I’m that stupid sometimes.
“Stupid? That’s pretty harsh. Why would you say that, Michael?”
Some months ago I dedicated a period of time to truly studying the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. I remember digging and delving into the guts of this epic series of lessons. I poured over the 8 Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3 down through Matthew 5:12. I even offered a series of expositional lessons, with a Beatitude for each week.
I really applied myself above and beyond not only to grasp them, follow them, and pray on them but to also explain them to my children and beyond. I worked so hard at learning what all 8 meant and how they were to be applied, I almost completely skipped something of monumental importance – Matthew 5:1-2…
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.Matthew 5:1-2
I assumed they were nearly inconsequential. Rather, they truly create the stage for a sermon that has never fallen upon my ears. Jesus had been traveling all over Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond healing the sick, and the possessed, and offering all the physical needs folks had. We’re given a sense of just how much buzz these recurrent and constant miracles were creating. We know this as “Jesus saw the crowds.”
Slowly, I eventually drew from this the divine nature of Christ. Jesus had been healing daily, the disciples were watching and learning. But our Savior needed to convey to His disciples something far more important than the healing of the flesh – He wanted to convey how to prepare, think, and behave – how to remedy your mind!
Had I been given the powers of Christ, I’d most likely healed day in and day out, but what I missed is the temporary nature of our health. Last week you were fit as the proverbial fiddle, and this week you have cancer. Your physical health comes and goes. Christ knew this and rather than heading down the hill to another town to heal more folks, He paused long enough to impart an exhortation far supreme to His recent practice. Yes, He showed us all that the only thing that will get you through life is your mental preparation united with your practices. Have you built a Faith that can sustain you through poor health?
He grants us the path to peace, love, and hope through the Sermon on the Mount. In an address that took just a few moments for me to read, Christ shows us the eternal significance of the Beatitudes juxtaposed with the temporal significance of healing our ailments.
This was a momentous and powerful revelation for me. And it came at an exceptional time, as I have many friends and family grappling with illness, much of which is terminal in nature.
How do you tell your grieving friend that Christ is what he or she needs even though sickness came before their child’s passing? How can you help your friend who is losing his wife to cancer? I suppose it starts with a loving act or a loving conversation coupled with the observation of the Gospel. As I grasp more scripture, I begin to comprehend just how little I know.
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”T.S. Eliot – The Rock
Physical reconciliation is what you and I want. The mental restoration and qualification associated with Christ are what we need. …And which is exceptional, our wants or our needs?
I used to consider myself pretty smart. But, I’d rather become poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I pray you to embrace what it truly means to be salt and light.
Here are the Beatitudes from Matthew 5:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.