Introduction, Part 2
Last week we began our study in perhaps the most famous “sermon” of all time, Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (SOTM). As you recall from last week, our Savior here is in the process of training His disciples – yet a “MULTITUDE” of people are listening in as well!
Did you catch how the “SOTM” (abbreviated, if you will) begins? Let’s read again Matthew 5:2, “Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying…” [my emphasis]. “He opened His mouth”! Isn’t this how all speeches of importance begin? Isn’t this how all professors begin their lectures? Isn’t this how all teachers begin their class? So then WHY is this so important?
We don’t have to go back too far in the Good Book to find our answer! You may remember that in the early part of Matthew 4, the apostle Matthew records the intimate details of Jesus’ temptation at the hands of our enemy, Satan. This is a most important recording! The Savior is showing that He came to earth as a Man – the God-Man if you will – to show that in addition to being our Savior, He was one of us, yet without sin. As such, how did He approach temptations? He approached them in the same way we must – using Scripture!
To each of the temptations He initially responded, “It is written”. And so should we! I’m particularly fascinated as to how He dealt with the FIRST allurement to evil from the enemy of our souls. We remember that Jesus had just spent 40 days in the wilderness WITHOUT food nor water. As we would be, He was hungry. He was famished. He was weak. Enter Satan. Enter Temptation #1: “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Could He have done that? Of course! BUT! He is now the “God-Man”! Remember what theologians would remind us in their understanding of the “kenosis” in Philippians 2:6-8:
6 “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
So while it is more than possible for the Savior to change stones to bread – or to steak or to MOXIE or to lobster or to any other most wonderful delicacy – He did not! Rather, He approached this temptation as He would want US to approach it: through the use of Scripture! As we could, He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, where Moses was instructing the next generation of the “children of Israel” as to how to live for the Lord:
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
But WAIT, there’s more! Look at 2 Chronicles 6:4. In the context, Solomon, the newly crowned king of Israel, is sharing with his “congregation”, HIS “multitudes” of the people of Israel, that God is faithful to His Word! Listen to verse 4:
“And he said: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David…”.
Solomon did not become king by CHANCE! No, no! His kingship was a direct result of the Lord fulfilling His Word to Solomon’s father, David. “Fulfilling His word” how? “WHAT HE SPOKE WITH HIS MOUTH”!
The Father of glory spoke by His mouth here to Solomon, He fulfilled His Word in the giving of a son to David to continue the kingdom – and in turn, all the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for an ultimate Kingdom which will never end.
IS THERE MORE? Yes, at least one more! Do you remember – of course you do – the descriptions of Isaiah 53? Along with Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and the chapters before it give vivid descriptions of what our Savior would endure at the time of the cross. In the middle of all this description of the Savior “becoming sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), is Isaiah 53:7:
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
Each of the gospel accounts gives a direct fulfillment of this prophecy concerning the Savior’s silence.
Listen to Matthew 27:12-14:
12 “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.” [my emphasis]
The accounts in Mark and Luke are most similar to that of Matthew. However, the Gospel of John has a most unique emphasis which is typical of the gospel which is trying to show in vivid detail the Deity of our Savior. Listen to the interchange between Pilate and the soon to be crucified Savior, as seen in John 19:9-11:
[Pilate] “went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
In fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 53, the Savior was silent when questioned about His Humanity. BUT when questioned about His Deity, He was quick to share the proof of His origin. Did you catch the intent of John 19:11? The Savior was showing in no uncertain terms that the events of the cross were a direct result of the plans of His Father – and in NO WAY were being orchestrated by Pilate. That truth shook Pilate to his core.
Why is all this important? Because: Like Father, Like Son! The Savior, like His Father in the Old Testament before Him, spoke as it were “from His mouth”. The disciples in Matthew 5-7, along with the multitudes who as well heard, were listening to the Words of God right from the One Who is the Author of those Words!
The SOTM [remember what this means?] is more than just a bunch of nice words shared in the middle of a nice sermon which most of us might fall asleep in sometime in the midst of it! Rather, it is from the “mouth of God”, sharing His guidelines for the Kingdom – not only for Israel’s FUTURE kingdom, but also for the Kingdom of God lived on earth TODAY through those who love the Lord Jesus as Savior!
Are you ready to hear the Words of God from the mouth of God?
Why not spend a few moments this week reading – or perhaps re-reading – Matthew Chapters 5-7.
Better yet, ask yourself two important questions:
#1:“Do I love the Lord Jesus as my Savior and Lord, having trusted that what He did at Calvary was the payment for my sins, MY sins?” If so, rejoice that you belong to the King of kings!
AND #2: “IF I love Jesus as my Lord and Savior, am I walking with Him, intentionally spending time each day in His Word [listening to what comes from His Mouth] and in prayer [sharing with Him what comes from my mouth and heart]?”. Why not intentionally set aside those precious moments between you and the Savior! Someone once wisely observed, “if you read 3 chapters each day Monday through Saturday, and 5 chapters on Sunday, you can read the whole Bible through in one year!”. That may be an HUGE goal for you – but WHY NOT?
May the Lord bless your walk with the Savior this week. LISTEN to what He has to SAY!