Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. Matthew 5:1-2
"WOW..daddy, come here...you've got to see this!" As I turned the corner towards the living room, I witnessed an all too familiar sight: my youngest daughter had her eyes glued on her iPhone watching random YouTube videos. As soon as my eyes caught what was flashing across the screen, my jaw mimicked hers and dropped to the floor.
A sand artist named Kseniya Simonova was mesmerizing the America's Got Talent judges. Using only sand, she animated a compelling story that tugged at the heartstrings. I caught myself trying to guess the next picture - convinced I was right; every time, I was dead wrong. What she drew and created was grander than anything I could wrap my feeble mind around. She took each scene and added depths of layers to it.
Most people wouldn't describe Jesus as an artist, but I do. The Sermon on the Mount, captured in Matthew 5-7, stands as the most extended message Jesus ever delivered. Contained within it is a stunning picture of what living in the Kingdom of God entails.
The flock of people who surrounded Jesus assumed they had a solid grasp on the law, religion, and morality. They were confident they knew how to live right. After all, religion was paint by numbers.
Jesus took their drab canvas, flipped it upside down and brought color to it.
With each word spoken, we witness an artist sketching how, as believers, we're expected to live - each stroke radically different than anything heard before. Life wasn't about making a name for ourselves but rather making His name known.
Where the law focused on our actions, Jesus adds depth to the picture by exposing our motives that lie beneath. The canvas Jesus paints includes little details that remind us to forgive boldly, love radically and live selflessly.
He brushes a broad stroke and says this way of life is open and required of all who follow Him - not just the religious elite. Jesus reminds us that we are God's masterpieces. He hands each one of us a paintbrush and invites us to paint along with Him by bringing the beauty of His love to everything we touch.
How can you bring the beauty of Christ's love to the things you touch today?
God, You've painted a stunning picture of what a full and meaningful life looks like. I will spend my days looking intently at this canvas so that it soaks into my heart and mind. May my words and actions represent the beauty of the cross well. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.