... I had lunch last week with Pastor Mankin and the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount) came up in our conversation. I asked my favorite question...the one I ponder often... "Is the Sermon on the Mount Law of Gospel?" He replied quickly and with great enthusiasm, "It's Gospel. In fact I am preaching on it this Sunday!"
Wow. Hallelujah. And the sermon, linked below, did not disappoint.
Most people, especially non-Christians, erroneously see the Sermon on the Mount as Christ's core work as "one of the wisest men ever". As such, they see The Beatitudes as law and Jesus as possibly the most exemplary law-giver ever. When we see Them this way, we miss the point.
I am fascinated by this human misconception of who Christ is because I struggle with it myself. I think that we all do. But God does not want us to. When we "mourn for our own sin" as P. Mankin intones, God wants us to be comforted in Christ, specifically in the knowledge that we are saved purely and solely in our Faith in Him, because we can never behave well enough to please God, not even close. But, of course we should try, not in order to be saved but out of gratitude for our salvation in Christ through his suffering and death on the cross.
This broader "wise man" misconception about Christ among humanity is also reflected upon brilliantly by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity where he says Jesus was not a wise man. He was crank, a nut job... unless of course He is whom He says is... the risen savior... the Only Son of God, who has come to save us from sin.
Here then, please hear this week's sermon: http://media.messiahseattle.org/Sermon/SundayService/20854633