Elementary school of faith

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain site and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

Mathew 5, 1 – 3

Dear readers,

Jesus opens an auditorium on a mountain site, in the open air. The students: his disciples. The word disciple also means: a student or a learner. They should now learn how God imagines life for all people. Jesus teaches the basics of the Christian faith. In a sense, t he very basic 1 x 1.

Children already learn to add 1 and 1 in kindergarden. Even Albert Einstein must have started it sometime in his early days! Jesus wants us to learn. In order to succeed, life should be built on a good solid foundation.

At the end of his long lesson, Jesus compares life with building a house. Whoever listens to what Jesus teaches and acts consequently, builds his house of life on a solid rock. In times of crisis the house of life will stand firm. Jesus says these are intelligent people! But whoever rejects God's Word and does not live by it, is stupid. Despite of his obvious intelligence.  Both, life's home and life's work have no solid foundation. They  will collapse one day like a house of cards. He has built on sand. Sand is not a sustainable foundation for a house (Mt. 7, 24 f). This is Jesus´ lecture for his disciples.

His first lessons start with praise! He enjoys that people come and want to hear from him what he has to say. He is full of praise for them:

Those who only expect everything from God - and no longer from themselves - are allowed to rejoice. They realize how poor they are in front of God. They understand how much they need God. All those who do not rely on their own strength, but on God's mercy, on his love. These  people are happy people in his eyes. Heaven is provided for them. They experience God's presence. They have a future with God.

Whoever expects everything from the Lord Jesus Christ gets a wide view. God opens up a new perspective in life for them. Many people expect a lot or even everything from others. Others should fulfill their expectations and hopes. This bill seldom works out, neither in private life nor in politics. Especially in everyday politics people expect a lot from others.  In energy  issues, in environmental protection, in ethical issues. In democracies, people think in four or five-year intervals. From election to election, they hope for positive change. But it seems to me, that the number of people who are disappointed from politicians is very large indeed.

The “Sermon on the Mount” does not begin with others, but starts with me. Jesus turns his eyes to his listeners. This is very challenging. It can even be very uncomfortable. Because Jesus says what God expects from us, from me personally. He expects me to change, so that I may succeed in life, so that living together with others can succeed. So that my life with God will succeed.

Who opens up the book with the “Sermon on the Mount”, will be able to read the most exciting chapter of ones life´s book. What Jesus says is breathtaking, is completely new! That was already the case at the original location. "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching" (Mt 7:28). I expect to hear new things from the Lord Jesus Christ in the coming weeks.

But everything starts from my acceptance that I need God. I need his word. And I should learn to agree: Yes, I want to learn, I want to listen. Yes, I want to expect everything from the Lord Jesus Christ. I understand that I stand there empty handed before God. And I come to Him in order to have my hands filled. I come and pray that what Jesus says will fill my heart and my thoughts. I come and expect everything from him.

Jesus says, "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Luke 18: 17). I wish you this “childish” trust and a blessed week.

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© 2020 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main