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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jesus and the new covenant

The covenant of Moses came in three steps:

1) God says, "I did something for you

2) Here are the rewards if you obey me

3) Here are the punishments for disobedience.

Through the Beatitudes Jesus takes these and turns them upside down. Here are the curses--mourning, poverty, meekness, persecution--but now they are the sources of blessing.

The standards set forth in the Sermon on the Mount are in direct opposition to the way the world operates and the common understanding of religion. "You have heard that it was said....but I say..."

Jesus says that those who live out his commandments will lead solid, stable lives. Those who do not face instability and ruin. There are the curses that befall those who reject the new covenant.

Building one's house on rock was a symbol of faith as understood by the Jews. A rock is dependable, strong, immovable and unshakable by wind and rain.

Like Ezekiel, Jesus called for a new heart to contain this new spirit. We are to maintain our hearts as pure temples into which nothing profane or vile or sinful must be allowed to enter. Only in this way can we live lives of holiness and justice, that is, proper relationships with others in equality and respect, not through manipulation, exploitation, submission or subservience.

Sent from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff!
    I was especially touched by that last part - "Sent from my iPad." Pure poetry.