Read Matthew 5:1-12
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:
Over the next three weeks I’m going to be focusing on that part of Matthew’s Gospel known as The Sermon on the Mount and today I will begin by considering the first section of that sermon, what is known as The Beatitudes, Jesus’ teaching on what it means to be blessed.
After being baptized; after facing the temptations of the devil; Jesus began his ministry preaching (Matthew 4:17), “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He then went on to teach about life in the kingdom of heaven and specifically, what it means to live under the reign of Christ. Finally, Jesus took the preaching and teaching of the kingdom into the lives of people through a ministry of healing (Matthew 4:24) the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics.
Preaching, teaching and healing. These three facets of ministry seem to carry a different value for people. For example, preaching God’s Word in my current congregation draws about 70-80 people into our church facility each Sunday. However, teaching God’s Word collects a mere half-a-dozen each week. What about healing? Does our congregation offer healing? I think most people, even Christians, would struggle to identify how churches offer healing today. On the other hand, if I could heal those with any affliction like Jesus did, I believe we’d be so overwhelmed with numbers that we’d have to build a new facility. My point here is that most people are attracted by the tangible things they believe they need and want and preaching and teaching while fine more some, hold little value for most in comparison to what is offered in healing. I believe this reflects our sinful nature.