Monday, October 10
Asbury Seminary faculty comment on the Sermon on the Mount at asburyreader.com.
Matthew 12:38-50 NRSV
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.
“The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
“Blessed are those that mourn” is usually taken to refer to those who, as in the Old Testament, mourned for the restoration of Israel, or, in the more personal sense, those who mourn for their sins and shortcomings—in either case an anti-climax. But if it means an active sharing and bearing of the world’s hurt and sin in order to cure it; if it means the kind of mourning that Jesus manifested when he wept over the city of Jerusalem, if there is the passion of the sorrow of the cross in it, then it is not an anti-climax, but a necessary counterpart and correction.
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount.