I’ve been currently reading and writing from Matthew chapters 5-7 which is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. I have always struggled with Jesus’ words in this part of Matthew because I fall so short of what he says I should do. However, recently I’ve come to a different way of looking at his teachings.
I was a classroom teacher for a number of years. My students ran the spectrum of grades from A’s to D’s, yet from my own experience as a student, I know that grades don’t always reflect what a student actually learns.
When I first started school, my brain was not ready for school type learning. I was therefore too slow at learning to fit in. I was handicapped, and my grades suffered. I felt unable to be successful in school, so I was not what you would call a well behaved student. But it turns out that I did learn. I was a poor reader till after I dropped out of high school, but somehow during my formal schooling, I learned to read.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was teaching his disciples the godly way to live. He knew that they were handicapped by their sinful nature and their cultural training. Jesus though, being the perfect teacher, patiently taught and retaught them. He loved his students and gave them everything including his life so they could learn a better way.
I now look at Jesus’ teachings as ongoing lessons for us his disciples. Jesus is affording you and me the same love and patience the disciples received. He is our teacher, and he is aware of our handicaps and limitations. As we read and reread his lessons, we are, over time, able to apply them to our lives. We all learn at different rates, but we are on the same path moving step by step toward becoming more like our teacher. Hence, we trust his love for us, and we work our way through life’s learning experiences.
I am also reminded that we have a resident tutor helping us along the way, for he has given us his Holy Spirit to guide us. We are well equipped to become more like Jesus. We just need to trust him with the whole process. I pray that we will not become discouraged, and we will remember to stay close to our beloved teacher.