Matthew 5

by Pastor Lawrence Bowlin

The first thing that stuck out to me in this chapter, in light of our current circumstances, is verse seven, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”  In times like these it is easy to be a hoarder of goods and to turn a blind eye to a neighbor in need.  But this is an opportunity for the mercy of Christ to be put on display through pity and compassion for those less fortunate.  Then in vv.13-14 Jesus tells us that we “are the salt of the earth,” and “the light of the world.”  In other words, we were set aside unto God to reveal to the world something good about God and his works.  And our “good works” are to be put on display that our neighbors might give glory to our Father in heaven.

Another principle that stuck out to me in this text is found in vv.38-42.  Not only will we be tempted to seek things only for ourselves, there will be others in this world who will seek to hurt us in order to get theirs.  And Jesus is warning his disciples not to return evil for evil.  If a man wants to steal from you, let him have your earthly goods, Jesus says.  If one begs food from you, do not refuse him, but give him what he requires.

Then, finally, Jesus says to ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  This is not a time to hold grudges and withhold love.  Even those who are not your nearest and dearest are worthy objects of love and mercy in days like these.  This is not a time to be fearful of strangers but to make friends of neighbors, greeting them, loving them and sharing with them the daily mercies of God, who makes his sun to rise on them and sends rain upon them just as He does with us.  This is the perfect way that Jesus speaks of, not our own way, but God’s way, which always promotes blessing and flourishing.

Suggested Prayer: Father, I thank you for my daily bread, and for providing for me and my family.  Lord, help me to use these blessings to be a blessing to others.  And help me not to be afraid or anxious of what tomorrow might hold, but to see the day as an opportunity to love you and to love my neighbor as myself.  Amen.