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The Great Sermon on the Plain
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And so it came to pass that Judas Iscariot became an Apostle but was eventually discovered to be evil and a betrayer; and, over time, there were even rumors that Judas was a thief.
The Nazarene’s decision to choose Judas Iscariot as his Apostle fulfilled a prophecy from Psalm Forty-one, which prophesized, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
Hence, after choosing his Apostles, Jesus came down from the heights with the twelve, and villagers from all over the area began following after them, some coming from as far away as Jerusalem, while others came out from the coastal regions around Tyre and Sidon. Until finally, there was a multitude following behind the wandering evangelists. Upon realizing that the Rabbi from Nazareth was heading toward the great lake, they continued following onto the plain at the foot of a hillock adjacent to the sea; all of them were anxious to beg Jesus to heal their infirmities and to hear him preach.
And upon reaching their destination, the Lord and his recently appointed Apostles gathered at the top of a rise overlooking the plain; the lake was off to one side.
This particular field where Jesus and his Apostles had decided to stop was well known; most among them, at one time or another, had camped here and knew this grassy depression created a natural amphitheater (created by nature’s GOD) as effective as any structure ever designed by the Romans. This same grassy meadow was a place traveling rabbis used often, and they all knew the spot quite well. To Jesus and his friends, the site had the advantage of being not far from Capernaum, where most lived. Additionally, adding to this depression’s attraction was the scenic beauty and serenity of the area; the sky beyond the Lord was the deepest blue, with long-winged seabirds gliding this way and that over and about the green hills below.
And it came to pass with the multitude settled upon the plain and everything seemingly pregnant with anticipation; Jesus stood, surveyed the sea of faces, and gestured with his hands as if to draw the multitude to himself.
Then, he began to speak and, almost shouting, said, “Blessed are the poor!”
A great sigh went up from the assembly, causing his words to be lost in the noise.
Jesus grinned, his coal-black eyes crinkling up as if he were smiling with his eyes as he continued with his discourse.
Then he asked, “Why, you ask? Why would this Nazarene say—Blessed are the poor? Well, my friends, I look out among you and see mostly laborers. I see men and women without much in the way of valuable possessions; therefore, there is less for you to worry about. Were you among the wealthy, you would say to yourselves, I am among the Sons of Abraham; the convent was made for me; therefore, because of the covenant, I am guaranteed everlasting life when the time comes. Rich men are certain in themselves, but the poor in spirit have no such assurance. You are here because you heard about a traveling Rabbi who heals the sick and lame, and so you have come, hoping he will tell you how to gain heaven. And so, I say to you—Blessed are you poor. You have come to the right place, believing in your hearts and seeking heaven’s kingdom.”
So again, I say, blessed are the poor among you, for yours is the kingdom of GOD. And not only that, but blessed are you that are hungry now, for you shall be filled. And, blessed are you that are sad now, for later, you shall laugh. And if men and women hate you and push you out, if the evil men of today accuse you and destroy your reputation with lies because you follow me, rejoice! Leap for joy because your reward in heaven will be great.”
A loud, healthy murmur erupted from the midst of the multitude.
Jesus said, “Remember this—The fathers of those who might accuse you today because you follow me—Well, their fathers and grandfathers were the same. Their fathers were so bold as even to accuse GOD’s own prophets.”
At which point, the Lord paused and momentarily tracked a pair of gulls sailing high above the heads of the assembly—with his gaze.
After a moment, the Rabbi glanced out over the crowd, raised his arms, and almost shouted, “But, woe unto you who are satisfied only in your riches, for you already have your reward. And, woe unto you who care only about filling your bellies, for you shall go hungry. And, woe unto you who only care about drinking and laughing because later you will mourn your loss. While you are here on GOD’s earth, you should spend time contemplating the things of GOD. What good will it do you later, when your time comes? What will you do with all that wealth? What will happen when the good food, strong drink, and laughter are gone? Do not listen to those who say laugh, drink, and be merry today because tomorrow it may all be gone. I say to you—Beware when those of this world whisper flattery in your ears. The world does not speak well of me or my words; they oppose my ministry; therefore, if they speak well of you, you most likely are of the world and not of my flock, and the Good Shepherd knows his sheep.” After saying this, the Nazarene paused and glanced about,
Then he said, “Remember this: In days of old, the world spoke very well of the false prophets who served evil kings. Therefore, I say to—Beware when worldly men and women whisper flattery in your ears. Why? Because in days gone by, their fathers and mothers whispered the same things in other ears about the false prophets, enabling those same false prophets to lie about GOD.”
Jesus glanced out over the sea for a flicker in time, and then said, “Brothers and Sisters, allow me to tell you what GOD loves. He loves charity and forgiveness. So, I admonish you: Love your enemies! And, if you can, treat those who hate you with charity. Bless them that curse you and pray for those who use you badly. And do not hit back wildly if someone strikes you on one cheek. No, I say, No! Instead, turn to that man the other cheek, then walk away if he strikes you again. You should be the stronger person. And, if someone takes your coat, give him your shirt also. Give something to everyone who asks whenever you can. And if someone steals from you, do not worry yourself into a harried state. Believe GOD! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
After saying this, the Rabbi from Nazareth paused for several seconds, looking about with loving eyes; to some in the assembly below—his glance alone seemed to ease their hurts.
Then, the Lord said, “Remember this: If you love only those who love you, what have you accomplished? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do good only to those who do good to you, what thanks do you deserve? If you give only to those from whom you hope to receive, you have simply made a wise investment. I ask you, is it not true that sinners do the same thing?”
A woman near the front thought of what had occurred that morning, how she had cursed at her neighbor because she thought the woman had taken valuable figs from her family’s tree. Later, however, she discovered that her own adult daughter had picked the figs, but rather than tell her neighbor about her false accusation and ask forgiveness, she allowed the matter to stand.
Moments later, the Lord reached up with his right arm, curled his fingers about his shoulder, his left arm hanging down at his side, and stood like that for several moments before, suddenly, pushing out his right arm and pointing with his forefinger. The Rabbi’s eyes narrowed as he moved the pointing digit slowly from side to side over the multitude who waited breathlessly for his next word; the black parts within the Lord’s penetrating glance seemed to emit specks of light.
When the roving digit reached the woman who had falsely accused and cursed her neighbor that morning, instead of feeling guilty, she felt relief, realizing at once that upon returning home, she would go to her neighbor and ask for forgiveness. And, that woman was not the only person among the multitude who were touched by that pointing finger.
Suddenly, Jesus commanded the multitude, saying, “Be merciful! Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful. Judge not, lest you be judged. Condemn not, and others will not condemn you. Forgive, and GOD will forgive you. Be generous, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great. Love your enemies, and you shall be known as the children of GOD. After all, GOD is patient with those who are not thankful and even with those who are evil. Give generously to the ministry and your needy brothers and sisters, and GOD will meet your needs. He will fill up your baskets, and shake them down, and fill them again until they are so full they run over. Remember this: GOD notices how generous you are and rewards you the same.”
The crowd listened and fell silent.
Then, in the distance, a cacophony of gull calls permeated the stillness.
The calls of the gulls sounded strange to those on the plain below, not the familiar squawks; instead, the calls reminded them of laughter. Bartholomew, one of the Apostles, pointed to the sky and gave the gulls a name, calling them the laughing gulls. Jesus smiled, his head tilted ever so slightly. Then, he laughed out loud at the comical sound.
The Lord loves all the creatures GOD had created.
After a moment, the Rabbi turned his attention again to the people, saying, “Do not worry about your brother’s small faults when your faults are great. Do not be a hypocrite. First, get rid of your faults, and then you will be able to see clearly enough to help your brother. After all, can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both stumble into a ditch? Try to become perfect in your faith, and you will be more like me. No good tree produces bad fruit, and no bad tree produces good fruit. Likewise, men and women often become recognized by the fruit of their labor. If you produce that which is good, you will be known as good. Men do not gather figs from thorn bushes or pick grapes from a bramble bush. If you want figs, you go to a fig tree. And, if you desire the kingdom of GOD, you go to GOD. Remember this: a good man from out of the goodness of his heart does that which is good. And, an evil man from out of the darkness in his heart does that which is evil. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Someone near him shouted, “Lord, your sayings are too hard for us.”
The Lord listened to the man, paused, and said, “Why do you call me Lord and then do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to me listens to me, and does what I say is like the man who builds his house on a solid stone foundation. When the flood comes and pushes against the house, it remains standing, for it was built on rock. But, men and women who listen to me and refuse to do what I say are like the foolish man who builds his house on a foundation of sand. And, when the flood comes, the house is swept away in a great pile of rubble.”
That day, the Lord preached for a long time until darkness began to blanket the area, and with evening approaching, Jesus finished preaching and led his followers back to Capernaum, where they intended to rest for a time.
These passages come from The Gospel According to Luke (Luke, Chapter 6) and are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The text above is a translation/interpretation of the KJV text. You should go to your own bible and read the scripture as given, only using this expanded translation to aid understanding. For the truth always go to the source, the scriptures themselves.
A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO SALVATION ...
Many of us see the word FLESH and immediately think of sexual sin. This may be so, but “THE FLESH” is more than that. We are born in the flesh and seek to please our flesh throughout our lives. When we hunger, we feed the flesh. When we are cold, we seek to warm the flesh, etc., and so on. The flesh is also the basis of all our sins. In many people, their desire to pamper their flesh might lead to envy, or greed, or cheating or embezzlement, or robbery, or even murder.
Take envy: Some seek to pamper the flesh by dressing in fine raiment like the upper class. The flesh leads men to strive for much more than they need. That’s what we mean about the flesh.
Among the Upper Classes—the Elite Political Class, the Hollywood Class, and the University Class—pampering the flesh may lead to extremes; think of the recent COVID-19 “Pandemic.” Most of us stayed home, wore masks like trained seals, and forgot about “necessities” like hairdressers, suntan parlors, or spas. To most of us, these were shut down by the government. But not for the upper classes; while we suffered in silence, they pampered THEIR FLESH by going into “closed” San Francisco Beauty-Parlors under cover of darkness and forcing the hairdresser to meet the needs of THEIR OCTAGENARIAN FLESH. In some states of the Union, the people were not even allowed to attend church services, while at times, in those very states, Governors—who shut down the state to the common people—spent their evenings with their upper-class friends in the most expensive restaurants, eating sumptuous foods prepared by world-famous chefs, all to deliciously pamper THEIR FLESH and that of their upper-class friends.
And what a choice GOD has given you … He has given you the means to overcome the world… the Holy Spirit! So, what does that mean? How is it possible to overcome the world? Well, with GOD, all things are possible. And HE offers you the gift of the Holy Spirit, the One who walks alongside. So what does that mean, the one who walks alongside?
The one who walks alongside is the HOLY SPIRIT of the living GOD.
When you accept Christ Jesus as your Savior and Lord and are baptized in water, baptism in the Holy Spirit is the next step. Jesus told the Apostles to go to Jerusalem and wait there for the Holy Spirit, and when the Holy Spirit came, and they were all baptized, it removed all fear from their lives. It prepared them to accept the world on their own terms. The gift of the Holy Spirit is available to you …
- Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord
- Join a “believing church” and be baptized in water.
- Wait upon the Holy Spirit
- When the Holy Spirit comes, and you are baptized therein, you will be changed forever.
- Remember, upon Mount Sinai, Elijah, the great prophet, heard the Lord’s voice as a still-small voice.
- The Holy Spirit works through a “still-small voice.”
- Listen to that still-small voice whenever an important choice must be made.
- Pray and ask GOD the Father to help you.
- From the point of your baptism in the Spirit … you will have a still-small-voice within your mind’s eye that will guide you—if you listen—through trying times.
- He will shepherd you through this life and into the next.
With the Holy Spirit, you can escape the whims of fate. To be guided through life by the Holy Spirit dwelling within you. Or to be in the flesh, subject only to the whims of the flesh, driven here and there, like a will o’ the wisp, subject only to fate … hurricanes, tornados, wars. But with GOD, you will always have that still-small-voice whispering in your ear, the one who walks alongside; the Holy Spirit will comfort you in this world and the next. Fate will have no terror for you because you are destined for everlasting life with GOD.