You really should read the whole “sermon on the mount” if you never have. It’s Matthew chapters 5-7. The verse this devotional is based upon is in this sermon, as were yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s verses.
Do you ever hear people’s ideas of what heaven will be like? Certainly there’s a lot that the Bible doesn’t tell us about heaven, and I’m expecting some pretty awesome surprises. But some people’s imaginings of heaven just don’t match up with what Jesus says. For one, the idea that we’ll lose our individuality.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus goes on to say things like, “Not only should you not murder, but you’re guilty even if you’re angry with your brother,” and “Not only should you not commit adultery, but looking on a woman with lust is adultery in your heart.” (My paraphrasing.) Remember Billy Graham’s “poor in spirit” definition yesterday? This passage sure makes me realize I need Jesus to enter the kingdom of heaven!
Yes, through Jesus we can all enter heaven, but some of us will be called great there. Does that appeal to you? I’m going to tell you a secret. I’ve always been a bit of an underachiever, and it’s enough for me just to get in. But if you want to be called great, find out what Jesus teaches, and be careful to do and teach the same! Here’s a good place to start.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.; On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Do I teach people, through my words and actions, that loving God and others is the greatest commandment? Because even if I don’t care if I’m called great in the kingdom of heaven, I do want to please God.
What will your kingdom statement be today? There is a lot to digest here today, but I think I’ll say WHOEVER KEEPS AND TEACHES THESE COMMANDMENTS WILL BE CALLED GREAT IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. I’ll replace my worries with this statement. And I’ll remember that love is the greatest commandment.
*New American Standard Bible verses originally used with permission from The Lockman Foundation in the paperback version of Seeking First His Kingdom (61 days of worry-free devotions).