The “Golden Rule,” treat others how you want to be treated is very good advice. But it is also challenging when read in context. Jesus tells us to love our enemies, bless those who curse us and turn the other cheek. That us not easy. But that is what Jesus did for us. He can help us do the same for others. It requires that we see everyone as loved and created by God. But remember God loves us and gives us life. Think how much better things would be if we all tried to live by the golden rule.
What motivates you? What gets you up in the morning? If it is money, comfort, entertainment or fame look out! These things don’t last. They don’t give a lasting meaning or purpose to life. What do you have left when they are gone? What a total contrast from living to the glory of God and helping others! So what are you living for?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when people don’t respect us for our faith. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when they mock our faith, try to marginalize us or silence us because we are Christians. Christians in the Middle East have it much worse than we do. Jesus warned us these things would happen. But he also tells us that our faith has a lasting purpose. We are already part of God’s kingdom and will be given the gift of eternal life.
You can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t judge a person’s life by their immediate circumstances. Jesus promises a great reversal of fortunes. This life is not all there is. Those who struggle now but trust in God are part of God’s kingdom. Their future with the Lord and His blessings is secure.
Jesus Christ is risen. Sin and death have been defeated. God’s great love for all people sent His Son to the cross to pay the price for everyone’s sins. Easter means we have the gifts of forgiveness, hope and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Jesus came down from the mountain to be with the people. His newly appointed Disciples were with Him. Jesus healed the sick and taught the people. Jesus was showing the importance of being with, helping and teaching people. Jesus’s followers need to continue doing that today.
Jesus had many disciples or followers. Before Jesus chose 12 men to be designated as His Disciples, Jesus went off by Himself to pray. Israel had 12 tribes. Jesus had 12 Disciples. Others continued to follow Jesus, but these 12 were the inner circle of followers. Jesus invites us today to follow Him, to be His disciples and to walk with Him in faith. Jesus met with the Disciples after His resurrection and commissioned them to go into the world and make disciples of people from all nations. He commissions us with the same responsibility of being disciples who make more disciples.
The Scribes and the Pharisees kept watching Jesus. There was a man with a deformed hand in the Synagogue on another Sabbath. The big question, would Jesus heal the man or would Jesus obey their interpretation of Sabbath law. Jesus asked if the Sabbath was a day for doing good or evil. Then he healed the man. Jesus enemies were furious. God’s love trumps man’s rules every time.
The Commandments tell us to keep the Sabbath Day holy by resting and worshipping God. Jewish religious leaders expanded on God’s command by defining “work” and trying to force everyone to follow their demands. But man made rules and rituals are not from God and are not binding. So Jesus didn’t follow their rules and faced opposition for it. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. We should follow Him and not let people bind us or confine us with their rules about how we worship or what we can and cannot do on the “Sabbath.”
Some girls wear mismatched socks. I don’t know why. It drives some of their parents crazy. Maybe that’s why. Jesus talked about mismatches too: New cloth to patch an old garment and new wine in an old wine skin. They don’t work. It’s just like trying to match a religion of rules and rituals with the Gospel of love and grace. It doesn’t work. Faithfulness follows faith. A religion of rules and rituals won’t make us right with God.