There are 200-400 billion stars in our galaxy and about 500 billion galaxies in the universe. The diameter of the Milky Way is 100,000 light years. The lifespan of our own star, the Sun, is around 10 billion years. There is this massive star and it is called Canis Majoris. If you put about 1,400 of our suns on next to each other, you’d have the width of Canis Majoris. There is as many as 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye at any one time in the night sky.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
I think of Abraham in Gen 15 led outside by God to look at these stars…Your descendants will be like these, this many…until they lead to me.
In one moment, there was nothing, and in a word, there was everything. In one moment, there was void, and in a word, there was fullness. All from the words of God. When He opens His mouth, power proceeds.
As I’ve been preparing to teach at my home church on the book of Matthew, specifically Matthew chapters 5-7, I’ve decided to call it The Best Sermon Ever.
Why? What makes it the best?
It’s not just because of what is being said. It’s not just because of when it was said. Or how it was said.
Or what language it was given in.
It’s not about who was there and who wasn’t there.
It’s not the best sermon ever based upon where it was given either.
The reason it’s important, the reason it’s the best, the reason it’s shaken the world… Is because of who is preaching it.
The one the prophets talked about.
The one who freed the Israelite’s and parted the Red Sea.
The one who sent fire from heaven when Elijah called.
The one who stood with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the furnace. who closed the jaws of lions around Daniel.
The one who wrestled Jacob.
The one who responds to Job.
The one who saved Hagar.
The one Samuel responded to as a boy…Here I am Lord.
The one who showed off the stars to Abraham.
The one who guided the sling of David.
The one who spoke to the whale for poor old Jonah.
The Kingdom Builder. The Star Breather. The Great I Am.
The one who takes the sin of the world. The one promised.
The one who promised to come again. The one.
The one way.
The one truth.
The one life.
The landslide of human history has led to this moment on a mount next to the sea of Galilee. Because, the STAR BREATHER, is about to open His mouth again.
The creator. The King. His first sermon, first recorded teaching, what does He say? What does He do? How would He say it? Is He mad? Surely He must be upset, we’ve gone so far away.
Come. Look. See.
The Messiah. The Great I am.
What is He going to do? Will He overthrow the government? Will He start a revolution?
Come. Look. See.
- Matthew 4:23-25
23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
- Matthew 5:1-2
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Whoa whoa whoa….The Great I am…sits? The one who put Mars in orbit…sits?
No! Not God! If Jesus is truly God He wouldn’t act this way! Yes. Jesus speaks so that those following Him can hear and be changed.
Sometimes we superimpose our opinions and definitions on people based upon our perception of power or influence that we perceive they have. For instance I once led a team of young people to go and serve the homeless and oppressed in Los Angeles in partnership with the ministry at The Dream Center. After a few days of outreach we attended a service at Angelus Temple and listened to Pastor Matthew Barnett. He was wired and confessed he loved Red Bull, he was electric and full of passion and vision. It as incredible experience and our team soaked up the energy we felt and were ready to return home and make an impact.
After the service was over we piled into our white 15 passenger van that we had parked in the multi-level parking garage and began to leave. To my surprise, in my side mirror I see Pastor Matthew Barnett chasing down our van. Before I could do anything he had already reached our van, flung open the door and began thanking us for coming and expressed how happy he was that we had come.
This guy had a church of thousands, a huge staff, and plenty to do; but he made time for what mattered to him and made an impact on all of us that day.
I wouldn’t have imagined a guy like that acting that way. I would’ve thought he would’ve retreated to his office and waited for the crowd to leave, but that isn’t what he did, he put people first; he put us first that day.
Jesus, the one who placed the heavens, sat down and spoke to those following Him. That blows my mind. It isn’t what I would have God doing with His short time on earth, but it is what he does nonetheless. You may be waiting for a voice thundering from heaven, but Jesus is sitting waiting for you to join Him on the mountainside.
God is strong enough to create people, but gentle enough to sit with them.
The passage says that people were following Him, great crowds, but the disciples, followed Him up the mountain. They were close enough to hear this message, to listen to a person speak straight to them.
There are going to be people who marvel at the things of God but don’t follow Him.
There are going to be people who even know Bible stuff but don’t follow Him.
There are going to be people who do Christian stuff but don’t sit with Jesus and listen to Him.
Jesus wants to have time away with you, away from the crowds.
Now, of all the things that Jesus, the Great I Am could say on what would be His most famous sermon ever, what He chooses may shine a light on what matters most to Him.
- Matthew 5:2-11
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Right out of the gates, Jesus gives us 9 ways to be blessed. God truly wants His creation to live blessed. Jesus doesn’t want His creation to live in pain or in sorrow. He desires for us to be blessed. Knowing whom this comes from His so important because it might be easy to dismiss some of these things.
It’s so important to know the voice in Matthew 5 is the mastermind of creation and the rescuer of His people. Because without knowing Jesus, some of these things just wouldn’t make sense. Or you would ask really God? How am I blessed when I’m being persecuted? Does not sound fun. How am I blessed if I choose to be meek? I see other successful people being really
cutthroat with business. Really Jesus, I’m going to be honest, I’m not feeling good about people reviling me.
A few concepts that will bring better context and encouragement as you read and consider the words of Jesus are these: Jesus teaches knowing past, present, and future. Jesus teaches from a clear spiritual and physical perspective. Jesus teaches from a place of love. You can trust Him.
As you read and listen to Jesus, keep on the forefront of your mind the road that Jesus was on as He taught His disciples. Jesus was headed to the cross. For us. In the midst of every word, every moment of His life, was one step closer to the cross. The place of His death and the place we find life. You can trust His words; they come from a place of love.
- 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
This is no doubt a message to His followers and our mission as followers of Jesus. That if the light of Jesus truly is inside of us, why would we ever hide it? It defeats the purpose. But maybe, somewhere in the heart of Jesus is the voice of the creator, speaking to original creation; way back in Genesis when He first spoke and things came to be.
When He spoke and put the stars in the sky.
When He spoke and made our home.
When He spoke and made us with His own two hands.
When Jesus speaks to these few disciples about being salt, about being light maybe He isn’t only talking about the future, put the past. The original purpose, His original heart when He made us.
To reflect Him.
To be made in His image.
To declare Him.
To take care of this place and bask in the playground that is earth.
Maybe Jesus is teaching…and reminiscing…remembering…and re-communicating to us our purpose, our design, and a way to live blessed. Like any good Father, He wants you to live blessed. This Bible carries the voice of the one who spoke stars into place.
It carries the voice of the one who cried out for us on the cross.
He is Jesus.
Matthew 5 is the best sermon ever, not because of superficial or silly reasons. It’s the Best Sermon Ever because it came from the mouth of God.
His voice makes the darkness tremble and brings hope where there isn’t any.
Jesus wants time with you.
Jesus wants to tell you how to live a blessed life.
Jesus knows your past, present, and future…you can trust Him.