In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus sees the multitudes of people. Having just come down from the mountains to start the active part of his ministry, he shares the Beattitudes. He declares in Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The Beattitudes convey assurance of our blessings.  In Matthew 5:13 “Jesus says we are the salt of the earth…”  Salt refers to preservation.  We can think of ourselves as preservers of the world, of this earth.  We are preserved and provided for, by God’s assurances. It is also our responsibility to provide for and preserve one another in this world.

In Verses 21 through 37 I once believed that Jesus was giving me a list of sins, and that if I didn’t listen to them, he would punish me for not listening. But, now I know better.  He’s not warning, as if to scare us. He’s cautioning us to be mindful of the things that can happen when we make mistakes.

As a child, our family would barbeque and have picnics outdoors.  My dad would always scold me for getting near the hot grill. Sometimes his cautioning would sound scary, as if he’d disown me, or smack me if I got near the grill. I never got near the grill and thank God I never got burned, but I highly doubt that if I did, my Dad would punish me, or punch me.  Once it happened and it were too late, my Dad would probably have ran to help me, get me under the water, or comfort me in some way. Now when I read the Bible, and especially in this chapter, I understand Jesus’ words.  He’s trying to help avoid being burned. His commands are cautions for us so we can avoid, as much as possible, the things that will derail us, and cause us to be hurt. Look to Jesus as a comforter, not a punisher. He cautions not scolds. When we look at Him in the way He meant for us to, we can take comfort in His comforting arms.

When you’re not quite sure where you’re going or how you’re going to get there, or if you are feeling alone, read Matthew chapter 5, and rest assured that our promises are promises we can take to the Bank. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, have one duty, one desire: to love us.  Why not accept that love?

Related searches: Matthew, the Book of Matthew, Beattitudes, the salt of the earth, Bible verse on promises