Intro from 3/8/12
I was going through The Merged Gospels, an excellent harmonized
translation of the 4 gospels that puts it in one narrative (I liked it
so much I bought the eBook and the audio), and these notes are me
figuring out and being taught by the Spirit that Jesus taught the law
before the cross to show people their need for a savior. God revealed
this to me through a pure reading of the scriptures with revelation
from the Spirit because I had heard no one teach this truth before this. My thoughts here are specifically of those from Jesus' lengthy teaching on the mount. Along with my notes I recommend reading Matthew 5-7 & Luke 6:20-49 or buying The Merged Gospels and going through Stories 54-79.
Intro from 4/21/11
is very difficult to determine the context Jesus is speaking
in here. He is teaching His disciples in front of a crowd before He
brings grace through the cross. Jesus knows that 11 of His disciples
will remain in Him. It seems to me that in parts of this Jesus is
clarifying the old covenant laws. He gives many works to attain
righteousness ideas including forgiveness being contingent on forgiving
others. Many of these things only make sense before the cross which is
from when He speaks. We too often run to applying everything scripture
says to ourselves. At least we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus'
12 disciples usually didn't understand what He was saying either. Still
there is a lot more mystery than our prideful academic minds wish to
admit about scripture. We try to say, "Well this is what He really
meant.." to fit our preconceived view of things. So there are some
wonderful things I see here and plenty of wonderful things I have yet
Notes on Jesus' Teaching on the Mount
Why Jesus Taught the Law
Jesus starts this off with talking about the law and how He has come to
fulfill it. I think Jesus is saying that He is so important that even
if heaven and earth were no more the law would still be in effect. He
is the only way for the law to be fulfilled and the only one who can
accomplish all things.
To me Jesus is more showing us how hard it is to keep the law than He
is giving us new commands to live by. Jesus basically points out "You
think you can keep the law? Well it is much more than the externals. It
is much harder than you think. These commands go to the heart. If you
can't keep them you are in danger." He repeatedly points out that we
are in danger if we can't keep the commands. He shows us God's even
higher standard of love and compassion. He raises the bar higher to
make it even more clear that we cannot keep His commands and to show us
our need for Him.
Pluck out your eye, cut off your hand, allow an enemy to strike you.
Under grace our actions do not put us under danger of fire. So Jesus is
talking to people under the law before His sacrifice. He is showing
that it is even more impossible to keep the law than had ever been
thought. The scribes and Pharisees are externally perfect but Jesus'
standard is internal also. So how can anyone be saved? With man it is
impossible but with God all things are possible!
Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but through Him. This means
there is no other way. It means that you cannot know the Father by
keeping the law.
We usually look at commands as what to do but God is also showing us
what we cannot do. We need His mercy, favor, forgiveness & strength.
I see this scripture as Jesus setting up people's need for His grace more
than anything else. Jesus turned the cheek to the point of death on the
cross. Yes it can be good to do what Jesus talks about here but we can
never do it without Him living it first as He did. He fulfilled the law
and now He fills us full with Himself which is the only way for us to keep
the commands He desires us to keep. He writes His law on our hearts because He Himself is
there in our hearts to do so.
The Two Builders
Jesus finishes His discourse saying, “Therefore, every one who comes to
Me, who hears My words and does them, I will show you what he is like.
He is like a wise man who built his house, who digs deeply and places a
foundation on the rock. And the rain descended, and a flood came to
beat the rivers violently. They came, and the winds blew, and they beat
on that house, and it was not strong enough to shake it, and it did not
fall, for it had been founded well on the rock. And every one who hears
these words of Mine, and does not do them, will be compared to a
foolish man who builds his house on the sand - earth without a
foundation. And the rain descended, and the rivers burst through, and
the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and immediately it fell,
and its fall and the ruin of that house was great.”
Anyone who 1. comes to me 2. hears my words 3. does them.
Jesus wraps all of this up very well. Hearing His words and doing them
are useless without first coming to Him. Jesus is the rock not the
hearing and the doing. Hearing and doing is the "digging into the rock."
Notice Jesus says "Whoever hears my words and does not do them."
The wise builder came to Christ, heard His words, and did what Jesus
said. The unwise builder heard the words of Christ and didn't do them.
The unwise builder never came to Christ! The hearing is present in both
builders. Not only is the doing missing but, more importantly, the
coming to Christ is missing. Even after we know Christ we must still
come to Him before doing what He said. We must trust Him for the who,
when, where, and how of doing what He asks us. The Bridegroom should not be
thrown away in favor of the book. The Spirit should not be thrown away
in favor of the scriptures. They work together. The living Word works
with the written words. The Spirit works with the scriptures all for our
benefit and purification.