Then Jesus “went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them.” Jesus’ teaching is unlike worldly teaching. For example, Jesus tells His twelve disciples that blessed are the poor, hungry, and weeping but woe to the rich, full, and laughing.
He says, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus wants His disciples to be set apart from the pleasures and empty pursuits of this world. He desires for them to keep their gaze on Him no matter what it costs in this world because the “reward is great in heaven.” Nothing we receive on this earth (riches, fame, security, etc.) come close to touching what is waiting for us in our permanent home in heaven.
Jesus raises the standards for His followers — “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” We are to do good toward all because we are to be a light of the world — “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
It is impossible through our own natural abilities for us to be this light that Jesus, who is the light, is describing. Therefore, Jesus came to live a perfect life and to sacrifice Himself so that anyone who believes in Him will be declared righteous and shine brightly by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus explains that He came not to do away with the Law, that only He can perfectly keep, but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets in obedience to His Father and on our behalf — “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Jesus says that, “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” The scribes and the Pharisees have an outward appearance of righteousness; however, Jesus calls His followers to an inward righteousness of the heart, which is only possible through surrendering your life to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
More teaching from Jesus tomorrow, so keep reading. (Mark 3:7-19, Luke 6:12-16, Matthew 5:1-12, Luke 6:17-26, Matthew 5:13-48, Luke 6:27-36, Matthew 6:1-4)