Text: Luke 6: 17-27 ; also Matthew 5:1-12
Prop: a hand-held computer game (or as alternate introduction, use example of learning the alphabet before you can learn to spell a word).
Summary: Jesus teaches us what it means to be blessed. Jesus gives us a better understanding of God’s laws.
Do any of you like to play computer games? (Show the hand-held computer game.) My children like to play these games when we are taking a long trip in the car or on a rainy day when they cannot play outside. I am not very good at playing this game. It is hard for me to make it past the first level. My children are better at playing it. They can make it past the first level and on to the higher, more difficult levels. Today I want to tell you about a time when Jesus wanted his followers to make it to the next level in understanding God’s laws. Jesus may have taught these sayings to his followers in many places. One passage of scripture (Matthew 5:1-12) says he went up to a mountain and taught his disciples. That is how these sayings became known as “the sermon on the mount.”
(Read aloud Luke 6: 17-23, 27.)
Remember how I told you about moving from the beginner level to a harder, more advanced level in this game? In a similar manner, the Lord Jesus wants us to have a better understanding of God’s laws. When God gave these laws to Moses, he gave the people some basic rules to live by. It was a beginner level. For example, Moses taught them to stop killing their enemies and only take revenge equal to the harm done (“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”). Jesus taught them to “Love your enemies.” (verse 27) That took them to a higher level. We are still learning that very radical truth. Jesus moves us from harming to helping, from hating to loving. It is not enough to simply put up with each other (tolerate). Jesus teaches us to get along with each other peacefully.
Jesus says things that are the opposite of what the world teaches. He turns the ways of the world upside-down. He makes statements that begin “Blessed are…” and then surprises us. Blessed are you who are poor, who hunger now, who weep now, who are hated because you follow Jesus. You are blessed! Jesus teaches that God will lift up the humble, the last shall be first, the merciful will receive mercy. He moves us beyond strict rules and teaches us that the heart of the law is to have mercy. He teaches us to love one another.
I hope as you come to church and grow in age, that you will grow in grace and understand more about the Lord Jesus and his words. Blessed are you when you hear and understand the words of God.
Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, bless these children and help them understand how much you love them. Amen.
©2004 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.