Yesterday’s action took place in the Temple, before the crowds. It concluded with Jesus declaring judgment on the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, and grieving over Jerusalem’s past and future. As Jesus leaves the Temple today, He prophesies judgment against it as well. Then, climbing the Mount of Olives, and overlooking the City of David, He launches His second extended sermon in this Gospel.
Both of these sermons that Matthew records take place on a mountain. The first Sermon on the Mount, in chapters 5 through 7, focuses on the Kingdom’s influence on daily life: pushing beyond nominal obedience of the law, and depositing one’s worries, judgments, and treasures in heaven. This second sermon is private, toward Jesus’ disciples. It’s about the Kingdom as well, but focuses on the judgment that will come through, and because of, the Son of Man.
One of the values of reading Bible books in their entirety is that you get to pick up on big trends and themes. If you had just picked up the Bible and read Matthew 24 and 25 on their own, you might be startled by the darkness and judgment in Jesus’ teaching. But Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus has been building toward this crescendo, anchored in the appeal that launched Jesus’ ministry: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. And it’s preached with the same sense of authority that had caused the crowds to marvel.
Save for the first verse, there is no dialogue, no action… just a sermon. I invite you to listen carefully to the words of the Son of Man himself, as Matthew recorded them.
Our verse for this week is Micah 6:8: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Matthew 24 and 25. Now let’s read it!
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?