Reactions to the Resurrection
Our Reaction to the Resurrection
Introduction. This week, we will be doing a lot of reading, so bookmark your Bible in Matthew chapters 5-7. As we have learned over the last few weeks, Jesus followers had different responses to His resurrection. Some doubted, as Thomas did. Some pursued Him, as Mary did. Some were broken by their own failures. Judas took His own life as a result, while Peter’s repentance started a movement that began the Church. We may know many facts about Jesus, yet how well do we know His heart? Each day this week, we will look at a portion of what is known as the Sermon on the Mount and simply ask a few questions.
Day 1. Jesus begins this sermon by describing those who are a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. As you read Matthew 5:1-12, pay attention to the attitudes that Jesus calls blessed. What are the results of having each of these characteristics? Where do you see strengths and weaknesses in your own life? Jot down or memorize one of the verses. Pray that God would reveal opportunities to demonstrate this verse over the next few days. Ask for His help. In doing so, you will be building an experience with Him.
Day 2. As followers of Jesus, we are called to live differently – called to be salt and light. Read Matthew 5:13-16. What does Jesus mean when He says, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world”? Reflect on the last week(s) in your own life. In what ways have you been salt? How have you given light to those around you (shown mercy, kindness, comfort, etc)? In verse 16, Jesus specifies that as we do these things we bring honor to God - to worship Him by reflecting His goodness and mercy to those around us. Look for opportunities in the week ahead to shine His light.
Day 3. Read Matthew 5:17-48. The disciples were familiar with the rules that Jesus taught about here. While the religious leaders and Phariseessought to uphold the letter of the Law of Moses, they didn’t really grasp it’s true meaning. Chasing the rules will only lead to failure. Pursuing a relationship with Jesus, however, leads to greater trust in a relationship with Jesus. Read these verses again. Instead of reading them as rules to follow, see how someone with a soft heart towards God could respond in right and good ways.
Day 4. Read Matthew 6:19-34. If you worry about money, you are not alone. Most of us at one time or another are concerned about it – either we don’t make enough, or we haven’t saved enough for retirement, or we won’t have enough to pay for our kids’ education, etc. While our reality seems to necessitate having significant financial resources, Jesus simply invites us to trust. In vs 27, He says “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” What does Jesus say that we should be concerned with in vs 33? And what will God provide? Are you more concerned with money than with the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven that we looked at in Day 1? If so, confess to God and ask Him to give you the faith to trust Him for your provision. Do you have a friend you can share with? He/she can be a support to you. At the same time, you may be able to be a support to them.
Day 5. Read Matthew 7:24-29. How does one build his house on the rock? Who encourages, reminds and challenges you to follow Jesus? Consider the people in your life. How often are you giving and receiving spiritual and emotional support? If you are in a small group, what is one step you can take to reinforce the foundation? If you’re not in a small group, what is a step you could take over the next couple of weeks towards joining or forming one? One next step may be to join a “Followers Made” group. Contact Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Summary. If you have time, look at the rest of the Sermon on the Mount specifically in Matthew 6:1-18 and Matthew 7:1-23. How has your perspective changed by reading through Jesus’ teaching this week? What are the specific steps that God is calling you to practice as you relate to Him and to the people in your life? Spend some time in prayer today thanking Him for His invitation for us to follow. Ask Him to grow and change you. We all know that reading and even talking about this teaching doesn’t make us more like Jesus, rather it is as we knowing and following Him.