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Time Travel, Sermons, and Reactions

9.11.2023


I made the mistake of binge watching a show from the early 2000’s called ‘Lost.’ It seemed like it would be a show about survival, as it focused on a plane crash on an obscure island in the Pacific, but turned into the most bizarre show I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been a big fan of shows or movies that include time travel. They are difficult to follow and comprehend. You must really pay close attention and sometimes that isn’t enough. This show involves time travel on steroids. Not only do the characters travel through time but they have alternate lives, and they are all connected to each other in every life. I have a headache just typing this as I ponder the show that I soon will finish that I should have never started.


Even though it is confusing, time travel could be a tremendous help to correctly understand Scripture. How much would it impact us if we could witness Biblical events? I’d love to be a bystander when giants and walls fell, when God’s angelic army protected Elisha, and when Daniel went into a petting zoo full of lions. But, more than anything, we would learn a great deal from being a witness to the teachings of Jesus. I think we would be shocked at the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and how it was received.

 

Google ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and you will find images and videos that make it appear everyone listening were amazed and enjoying what Jesus said. Movies and video portrayals will show a stoic Jesus who spoke every word in a firm but humble way- almost in monotone. The idea is that His words were so profound that He didn’t need to give them with any emotion. But is this true? 

 

If we traveled back to that day as people gathered from far and wide, you’d might witness the reactions of this group as Jesus spoke:

 

Man 1: “Can you believe that we may witness someone being healed?” 

 

Man 2: “My friend, I am needing such a healing as I have a leg that will not work properly.”

 

Woman 1: “I’ve heard that his disciples are claiming He will only be teaching today.”

 

Man 2: “I hope your ears heard wrong. I’ve heard His teachings are difficult to understand and go against what our religious leaders teach.”

 

Man 1: “Trust me, they are unusual, if not troubling. I’ve seen firsthand how the Pharisees get very angry at what He says. I don’t want to hear His teachings; I think He has the power of God to heal but not the gift of teaching.”

 

Man 2: “There He is! He looks like a mere shepherd. Not who I’d expect if He is a great prophet.”

 

Jesus: ““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”


Man 3: “That sounds like sound teaching.”

 

Man 1: “Yes, I agree, I don’t know why the religious teachers are troubled.”

 

Woman 3: “He is still talking. Shh!”

 

Jesus: “Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.”


Man 2: “There you go! He’s crazy! Did you hear that?”

 

Man 3: “Now we know why the leaders are so mad at Him. How can He claim we need to be better than our leaders?”

 

Woman 1: “We are all doomed if this fool is right. How can anyone be better than the Pharisees?”

 

Man 2: “What! Did He just say we have to be perfect?”

 

Man 1: “Hey Jesus! Stop this crazy talk and just heal our people.”

 

Woman 1: “You are wrong, you are no Rabbi!”

 

Jesus: “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire.”

Man 1: “Yikes, does He realize He has just called us all out as being guilty of murder? That is preposterous!”

 

Man 3: “I just hope that doesn’t include Romans and the rest of the dogs from Samaria.”

 

 Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

 

Woman 1: “Oh my! You men are all in big trouble now (said with a grin and chuckle)! Bet every man here is glad this man is speaking like one demon possessed.”

 

Man 1: “Excuse me, Jesus, do you have a saw I can borrow? Anyone need help plucking your eyes out?” (Said with a hearty laugh at the end).

 

Man 3: “I expected some boring teaching, but this is hilarious!”

 

Man 2: “I wanted to be healed but this is funny. Does He really think we aren’t offended?”

 

They would get very restless when Jesus spoke of not being forgiven if they didn’t forgive others and when He called on them to love enemies- who could love the evil Romans? Jesus was likely to get jeers than cheers. He elicited clinched fists and not clapping. This message would have gone over worse than a staunch Republican giving an address at the Democrat Convention. 

 

We look at this ‘sermon’ and think Jesus was speaking to us but if we really understand what Jesus was saying in context to the Law, we’d quickly change our thoughts. The people who were under the weight of the incredibly heavy Law were just told how much heavier the Law was than they had been taught. This wasn’t a sermon anyone embraced- it devastated the idea the Law could save.

 

I challenge you to think of yourself as a listener, sitting on the hillside as Jesus spoke. You have been taught that you could do enough to keep the Law to be declared righteous. You have heard all your life that if you behaved well enough you would go to Heaven. Just don’t break a major commandment- don’t murder anyone and don’t cheat on your spouse. Everyone broke the ‘lesser’ commandments, but that would be ok because you could be ceremonial cleansed to please God. With that mindset, how would you react to Jesus as He tells you to be perfect, to cut your hands off and pluck your eyes out because they help us sin, and our forgiveness is based on giving forgiveness to others. If you read Matthew 5-7 and don’t get that, you are more like ‘Man 1 and Woman 1” and probably would tell Jesus to stop because your self-righteous mindset is preventing you from seeing the truth. Jesus wasn’t calling us to action (behavior-based living) but challenging our error filled belief.

 

Allow the Holy Spirit to challenge your mindset on the Words of Jesus as you read the Sermon on the Mount with a fresh perspective of time travel study. You should find that the crowd would have been grumbling and unhappy- they were having their spiritual mindset radically challenged. Many today need to have their mindset radically changed as well- are you one of them?

 

Prayer focus: For the families of 9-11 victims on this 22nd Anniversary of that dark day.

 

 

 

 

 

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