The FAQ section of the Sermon on the Mount

The whole premise of my connecting Psalm 1 with Matthew 3-7 is that Jesus is the model and the way to actually live out the tree image of Psalm 1.  The key terms are blessed and righteous and the image is of a tree planted by streams of water, representing the revealed ways of God, which provide the tree with fruitfulness, freshness and fulfillment.

In Matthew 3 John the baptist describes the religious elite as dead trees to be treated like the chaff, the imagery for the wicked in Psalm 1.  After Jesus’ baptism, announcing his loyalty to the Kingdom of God, he goes into the wilderness exile and resists temptations of 3 sorts: physical (bread), relational (miraculous public display to gain status) and spiritual (capitulating to the leader of creation in rebellion in exchange for worldly achievement).  Jesus resists each temptation by finding sustenance in God.

In Jesus ministry he gathers apprentices and begins to minister to those same issues, healing people, delivering them from the demonic and giving sound teaching.  He then sits everyone down and explains.  The vision is of a blessed life that is righteous and part of God’s rule.  It is a Psalm 1 vision.  Disciplines are included to exhort people to inner reliance on God as they grow in righteousness to be more and more like their father.

Beginning in Matthew 6:25 Jesus then addresses the practical life questions people may have.  6:25-34 he says not to worry because life and the body, which are given by God, are greater than food and clothing.  God provides food (consider birds) and clothing (consider flowers) by grace, surely trusting him as you pursue these things should make sense.  So, the #1 priority is God’s rule and his righteousness, and from that you have a present oriented view to facing your physical challenges.

In 7:1-12 Jesus deals with relational issues by telling people not to be judging or pushing others, critically or positively, as if that was the next most important thing in life.  Rather, we are to ask, seek, knock; to relationally rely on God as Father.  That inward giving and receiving appropriate love with God first and outward relationship with others second, is the overall point of the stream of revelation meant to give the righteous tree life.

7:13-23 We are to enter through a specific entrance to life and to watch out for falsehood.  The tree image is explicit once again. The issue is whose Kingdom we really are a part of.

7:24-27 concludes the entire talk with an exhortation to hear and apply (wise) vs. to hear and not apply (foolish).  The appearances will seem similar, the foolish and the wise will be lovely cottages, but a storm will come and test what is substantive.  The consequences are profound.

7:28-29 The crowds were amazed.  This guy really seems to know what he is talking about.

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