Matthew 5– 7 records Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. In it Jesus identifies the character traits and qualities of Kingdom people. They are humble in spirit, acquainted with sorrow, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, prepared to be persecuted for the cause of Christ.
Jesus goes on to identify, midway through His message, a list of the most common areas of conflict and challenge that we struggle with in life:
» Broken relationships
» Breaking our promises
» Retaliating when others hurt or offend us
» Dealing with our enemies
» Our attitude toward the poor
Taken out of context, Jesus’ guidance could sound like harsh rules and regulations: “Do this . . . don’t do that. . . .”
But what did Jesus do before He delivered this iconic message?
He demonstrated it. He lived out the message.
During the silent years of Jesus’ preparation, before He was thrust onto the world stage to begin His public ministry, Jesus learned the discipline of surrender. He grew in grace, obeyed His heavenly Father, obeyed His earthly parents. He listened to His Father’s voice and persevered in what the Father had given Him to do.
Out of this wellspring of relationship came forth the power ministry— the miracles, healing, changed lives, God’s Kingdom breaking out all over.
Later, Jesus was qualified to speak about these things because He had lived them. He instructed His followers to go out and minister to those who were sick, in pain or in bondage with great compassion— because He had already done it and had demonstrated how it should be done. He preached the Gospel. He was the Gospel.
If our ministry is not born out of the wellspring of relationship, if it is not birthed in compassion, let it die.