33 You know our ancestors were told, “Don't use the Lord's name to make a promise unless you are going to keep it.” 34 But I tell you not to swear by anything when you make a promise! Heaven is God's throne, so don't swear by heaven. 35 The earth is God's footstool, so don't swear by the earth. Jerusalem is the city of the great king, so don't swear by it. 36Don't swear by your own head. You cannot make one hair white or black. 37When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.
38 You know you have been taught, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” 39But I tell you not to try to get even with a person who has done something to you. When someone slaps your right cheek, turn and let that person slap your other cheek. 40If someone sues you for your shirt, give up your coat as well. 41If a soldier forces you to carry his pack one kilometer, carry it two kilometers. 42When people ask you for something, give it to them. When they want to borrow money, lend it to them.
43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for this? Even tax collectors love their friends. 47If you greet only your friends, what's so great about this? Don't even unbelievers do that? 48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven.
Reflections from a young father listening to the Sermon on the Mount
. . . It was a warm day. Sitting with hundreds of people from the surrounding villages we strained to hear the voice of Jesus. He was talking clearly to his twelve key disciples, but we could hear it too!
Life was hard. We had come with high anticipation. We had heard of his miracles and his message that was supposed to be so different than that of “normal” religious leaders.
But this message was radical. It was vibrant. It was challenging. It rocked me to my soul. It caused me to think like I had never thought before. If I really lived this out, I had to change the way I lived.
Jesus was calling me to be a man of my word. No matter what. No excuses.
Jesus was calling me to not try to get back at the one who stole from me. To not complain about those awful soldiers who assaulted my son, and then asked me to carry their bags.
Jesus called me to lend to my neighbour who never paid me back the last three times I had lent to him. Jesus called me to a very different way.
Jesus called me to love the ones I really don’t like, respect or even hated.
Is this what it really means to follow God?
Jesus, help me to do more than just hear your words. Help me to take them deep inside. To take them into my heart. Please give me the guts to live them out, not just hear them.