When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them: – Matthew 5:1-2
Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh. – Luke 6:20-21
I know I know I know…. I promised regular Monday “Beatitudes” posts while my discipleship class continues to study the beginning of The Sermon on the Mount. But I’m only a day late!
I’m excited to report that, sometime during Saturday, person number 5,000 signed up to “follow” this blog. Woo-hoo! It’s a big milestone – yes – but I’ll more likely feel that I’m making an impact that means something if all 5,000 of you get hooked into this series on the teachings of Jesus!
Our approach this Sunday was to talk about two things:
- 1) Our personal faith statements – This in response to the 12-week class I just completed on the creeds, confessions, and catechisms adopted by the Presbyterian Church.
- 2) The personality of Jesus – to help us to lift the words printed in Matthew 5 from two-dimensional ink on a page and into the multi-dimensional perspective of a real, live, human being; a master teacher; God’s beloved son, sent to make the way clear for a renewed relationship with the Father.
So Rick led off with the devotional. He shared his personal statement of faith; it was a seriously powerful set up for the discussion that followed.
QUESTION: Then I asked the question, “Who is your favorite Jesus?” The idea comes from a chapter I’ve been working on for my new book, and it’s designed to invite us to look at the life of Jesus, and see what aspect of his ministry meets our deepest need at this time.
- One man said, “The Jesus who prayed at Gethsemane. He was staring death in the face, and he chose to put my need for redemption ahead of his own apprehension concerning the horrors to come…”
- Another participant volunteered, “Party-Jesus! The Jesus who loves to attend dinner parties and who brings depth and meaning to everything he is involved with.”
- One of the women said, “Healing-Jesus. Touching lives exactly where they need his calm, and peace, and his wholeness.”
- We also discussed, “The Jesus who felt power go out of him when the woman touched the hem of his garment,” and “The Jesus who has time. Time for children to hang all over him, time for the woman at the well….” and many more.
The point of all this conversation was more “deep background” for the coming conversation on the Beatitudes. What the class members do not know yet (unless they’re reading this blog) is that this coming Sunday we’re going to talk about the people who were there to listen. Who were they? What were their life circumstance? What did they know of God? What were they looking for in a potential savior?
Likewise, who are we? What are our life circumstances? What do we know of God? What are we looking for in a potential savior?
Do we know Jesus at all? Are we willing for Jesus to know us, at the deepest level?
RESPONSE: So – and not unusual for this blog – many more questions than answers in today’s post. If you’re still reading, if you’re curious, and if you think you’d like to be a part of this conversation, then either comment below, email me (contact details at www.derekmaul.com) – or make a Facebook comment.
In love, and because of love – DEREK