The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 contains many familiar themes to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6, where he is with his disciples and the crowd on a level place. Are Matthew and Luke describing the same sermon? If so, is the “level place” a plateau on the “mount” where Jesus delivers the message Matthew records?
Each account contains a version of the Beatitudes, which offers this faith-bolstering promise:
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
Jesus spoke these words, knowing that it was exactly what would happen to him. Am I willing to risk acceptance, reputation, comfort, even ego for the cause of Christ?
Jesus says, “Great is your reward in heaven.” I wonder what that “great reward” looks like? Whatever it is, it will be great enough to cause us to leap with excitement and joy. Being in the presence of our Father, experiencing unhindered fellowship with the Almighty, is the greatest reward imaginable. But still, other rewards await us in heaven that will bring great joy. It’s fun to let our minds run with that thought.
The reality for all of us who choose to follow Christ is this. The closer we get to Jesus, the more of a target we become… a target of this world and the Enemy who rules it.
What makes following Jesus- even when life is difficult or we’re under attack- worth it? What makes following Jesus worth it for you?