Lenten Devotional 4-5-23

Sermon on the Mount

April 5, 2023

Matthew 7: 21-23

21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” 23Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is coming to a conclusion. I can hear his voice rising. His words crescendo. His summary is our text above. And when we read it, we might gasp. The people who are religious – those who mouth the words “Lord, Lord” – are not getting into the Kingdom of God. Going to church is not enough. We must do the will of God, too. But even doing the will of God with powerful demonstrations is not enough. Throwing money at a problem to demonstrate your generosity is not getting you into the Kingdom of God. Showing up at the Pearly Gates with either one of these – or both – won’t get you in. Why? Because Jesus does not know us. 

For the first several decades of the US, a new president would greet long lines of people at the Whitehouse who were basically asking for jobs in the federal government. Each had to demonstrate their party credentials. But that would not be enough. Next they would have to list all the things they did to get the president elected. But that was not enough, either. The president did not “know them”. What they had to prove was their loyalty to the cause – the president and what the president stood for. Those folks were “known”.

How does Jesus know us? It is when we proclaim that Jesus is Lord. It is when we live the Jesus way. But it also requires that we adopt Jesus as our very being. The only truth we need in our lives. We are here for one purpose. To do God’s will to God’s glory. That introduces us to Jesus.