but was now surrounded by illness.

In heaven He had been revered; now He was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch Him. Some called Him a lunatic. His family tried to confine Him to their house.

Those who didn’t ridicule Him tried to use Him. They wanted favors. They wanted tricks. He was a novelty. They wanted to be seen with Him – that is, until being with Him was out of fashion. Then they wanted to kill Him.

He was accused of a crime He never committed. Witnesses were hired to lie. The jury was rigged. No lawyer was assigned to His defense. A judge swayed by politics handed down the death penalty.

They killed Him.

He left as He came – penniless. He was buried in a borrowed grave, his funeral financed by compassionate friends. Thought He once had everything, He died with nothing. He should have been miserable. He should have been bitter. He had every right to be a pot of boiling anger. But He wasn’t. HE WAS JOYFUL!

1 Cor 1:18
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
NIV

We are in a battle of two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. In this battle there is a struggle between the believers flesh and spirit. The flesh is drawn to the world while the spirit is drawn to God. The Sermon on the Mount is the powerful sermon ever preached. This is a pivotal point in history, the first sermon the greatest preacher who ever lived preached. The Old Testament ends with a curse.

Mal 4:6
6He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

Now Jesus opens His ministry with the blessings we know as the beatitudes. The Old Testament law demonstrates man’s need of salvation, and the New Testament message offers the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord had to begin with a proper presentation of the law, so the people would recognize there sin – then come to the offer of salvation. However, Jesus makes it clear that man’s effort can never earn him righteousness or salvation. Only the new nature that God gives can enjoy the blessedness that Jesus speaks of in the Sermon on the Mount.

AMERICA IS IN A HURRY. We are the only nation on earth with a mountain call “Rushmore.” In 1965 a testimony before a Senate subcommittee claimed the future looked bright for free time in America. By 1985, predicted the report, Americans would be working twenty-two hours a week and would be able to retire at age thirty-eight.

The reason? The computer age would usher in a gleaming array of advances that would do our work for us while stabilizing our economy.

And now the computers are byting, the VCR’s are recording, the fax machines are faxing. Yet the clocks are still ticking, and people are still running. The truth is, the average amount of leisure time has shrunk 37 percent