Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond Jesus' Teachings
Sermon on The Mount Part 1
When I trained to be a Salvation Army Officer (pastor), we were instructed on how to prepare and format a sermon, which included “CVAA” . The “C” stands for “clarify” (tell the people what you are going to talk about); the “V” represents “verify”, using Scripture references; the first “A” concerns the need to “amplify” (expand on the teaching), and the last “A” symbolizes “apply”--the need to help listeners understand how the teaching applies to their personal life. Furthermore, we were taught limit the length of sermons to 20 minutes. Additionally, the basic outline was to include an introduction, 3 separate points, a conclusion, and an invitation to receive prayer. Finally, our sermons, as well as all other field work, had to be reviewed and approved by the Field Officer on staff. However, we often discovered that Officers with many years of experience commonly ignored the 20-minute rule, and they often preached for 45 minutes to an hour. Apparently, the real rule is, “the more experience you have, the longer you can preach or teach.” This provides a 'glimpse behind the scenes' to the life of a Cadet-in-training-to-be-a-Salvation-Army-Officer (pastor).
I'm not sure that I've ever heard a sermon that provided a 'glimpse behind the scenes of what events preceded the Sermon on the Mount. We have had two such glimpses with the post about John the Baptist (Lent, Day 15), and Jesus, Rabbi (Lent, Day 16). This information has been provided to eliminate any doubt that Jesus just suddenly appeared on a hillside and began teaching what has become known as “The Sermon on the Mount.” Like Salvation Army Cadets preparing and training for their ministry, Jesus also spent time preparing for His. In fact, it's written that Jesus had been preaching in the synagogues in Galilee and healing people of all their diseases (Mt. 4: 17; 23-24). As word spread of these authoritative teachings and healings, Jesus became famous, and people came from miles around to hear this Rabbi and to seek healing from Him (Mt. 4:25).
Obviously, Jesus was knowledgeable and experienced. His “Sermon on the Mount” is His longest one recorded in the New Testament, but what took place prior to His delivery? We know that following Jesus' baptism He fasted in the desert for 40 days, At the conclusion of the fast, He was tempted by satan and stood against the wiles of the devil, using Scripture to support His choices. Most Biblical scholars agree that when Jesus emerged from the desert, and left the area to travel to Galilee, that this was the beginning of His itinerant ministry.
Over the next several days we will be focusing on Jesus's sermon on the Mount, and explore the themes included in these teachings.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)