Christ’s First Message

The teaching of Christ as recorded in the Sermon on the Mount is the heart of Christianity. Here Jesus brings together the teaching of both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament points to the coming of Christ, while the New reveals His coming. The Sermon on the Mount shows us our great need of a Savior.

When these teachings stab hearts, we see our helplessness and our great need for spiritual truth and spiritual birth. We not only see our need of a Savior but we realize our own inability to live according to Christ’s teachings. This should cause us to depend upon the Holy Spirit, for we need the Holy Spirit’s enabling power if we are to live and practice His way of life.

Someone has said that this sermon needs to be read on our knees. As we read this sermon we will find that we frequently need to drop to our knees before God, asking Him to direct our lives and to purge us so that we will be a living example of the kind of life Christ wants us to live.

Following His temptation in the Judean wilderness, Christ returned to Nazareth (His hometown) in Galilee. However, He did not stay long but moved on to Capernaum, a city on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here in this prosperous city settled on the lush, fertile plain of El-Ghuweir (Gennesaret), Jesus began His public ministry.

In His first message Jesus said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). We must repent before we can enter the kingdom of heaven. The Greek word from which repent is translated means “to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins” (Thayer’s Lexicon). Therefore, when Christ calls o nus to repent, He really demands that we change our way of thinking, abandon our old lifestyle, reject our false concepts, forsake our wrong attitudes, and enter upon a new way of life.

before w can fully understand the teachings of Christ we must repent. We must become a child of God. We do not forsake the wrong way until we have accepted the right way of living. When Jesus calls on us to change our ways, He offers a more excellent way: the kingdom of heaven.

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