A Message from Marty Miranda

Writer and Professor, Lucy Lind Hogan, invites readers of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, to consider "when did the nodding stop?" The followers of Jesus likely nodded along as He talked about how they would be comforted and would inherit the Kingdom of God. But, at what point did his followers stop nodding along? At what point do we stop nodding?

Maybe we value what Jesus is saying regarding mercy or can see how much better the world would be if we followed the way of being peacemakers. We may even nod because we see some of these characteristics within us and find joy in that. But at some point, as we keep reading, the nodding stops. For me, I stop nodding when I remember that none of these descriptions of a godly life are natural tendencies or characteristics of the human heart. They aren't something we ascend to through self-reliance, self-esteem, or more effort. We may find ourselves naturally quiet and reserved, but that is not the meekness Jesus is inviting us to. We may feel naturally empathetic, but that is not the mercy Jesus invites us to. We don't naturally find ourselves in the center of the blessed like Jesus describes here. We enter it through surrendering to Jesus and fully relying on the grace of God.

Martin Lloyd Jones put in this way in his reflections on Jesus' sermon:
"There is a mountain you have to scale, the heights you have to climb; and the first thing you must realize, as you look at that mountain which you are told you must ascend, is that you cannot do it, that you are utterly incapable in and or yourself, and that any attempt to do it in your own strength is proof positive that you have not understood it."

Wherever the nodding stops for us, whatever areas in our life we realize need to change, wherever the Holy Spirit has shined a spotlight on, let's trust Jesus and receive all that He is and all He offers us so we can live in the center in this blessed life.

Marty Miranda
Teaching & Students Pastor