One of the most beautiful places in Galilee is the site of the Sermon on the Mount. There is a church there and lovely flower gardens. Numerous areas are available for groups to gather and reflect on what happened there. Here Jesus gave us the core teachings about life in the Kingdom of God. The sermon begins with the beatitudes. These teachings underscore that those who live a Kingdom focused life will be different. Their lives will convict the world as they provide salt and light to an insipid and dark world. One can easily imagine the multitudes that sat on the gentle slopes and listened to one who spoke like no other. He spoke with authority. He did not need to quote anyone. He was and is the Word of God; the Word made flesh. These days and years in Galilee were a foretaste of the reception Jesus has had the world over. This region that already had Greek and Roman influence and was known as a place for Gentiles gave a glimpse of the days when people of every tribe, nation, and language would listen to Jesus and follow Him. In the cool, quiet breeze we sat and read his words and spoke of their importance. We also affirmed that it was what Jesus did by dying on the Cross for us and rising again that was his greatest work. His teachings can only really be understood and followed by those who accept His finished work on the Cross. His teaching about loving enemies, which was a part of this sermon, must have sounded strange to those who had not yet seen him die willingly for sinners. A refrain of the sermon that should be remembered is “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt. 5:20) Jesus clearly called us to walk on higher ground. Are you following Him?

Dan Wooldridge

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