We are created in God’s image. We are supposed to be a reflection of Him. We were not created to argue, fight, and destroy. We are here to lift each other up, do God’s will and to praise and Glorify Him in all that we do and say. WE are all part of God’s family and we should act like it.
Being Deceitful and Arguing are not what God wants us to do.
In Episode 8 we first find that a portion of the Promised Land given first to Abraham and then to his descendants. The land given to the tribe of Reuben is being sold to two unscrupulous businessmen who claim to be from the tribe of Simeon. The businessmen con the owner out of the land for 49 talents and then speak of signing a covenant to bind the sale agreement. The Leader of the Reuben Tribe remembers another covenant made between God and Abraham. (Brother against Brother/ Reuben against Simeon)
Genesis 13:14-17 God said to Abram, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give to you and to your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its breadth and length; for I will give it to you”.
Hebrews 12:8 “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going”. Abraham didn’t know where he was going, but he placed his faith in the God who called him, and he obeyed. This was an amazing, sacrificial step of faith.
The young apprentice of the businessman seems to have more scruples than his new business partner and is interested in learning more about Jesus when they hear about His upcoming sermon. He claims that he wants a life that he can be proud of.
The Disciples are arguing, again, about everything from how Simon the Zealot exercises too much and should cover himself before the women wake up, to how the mind and spirit are more important than the body. They complain that Jesus is always gone, the women are always studying, how noisy chopping wood is, the fact that Jesus always takes Matthew with him when He disappears to the fact that Simon slept in and Andrew got up on the wrong side of the bed. They do all agree, however, that there can be no mistakes made when it comes to the large crowd expected at Jesus’ sermon. (Brother in Christ against Brother)
Thomas believes that all the arguing is a form of love. They all love Jesus and want to follow Him in the right way. They just can’t agree on what that right way is. (This is like the different churches all following Christ but not agreeing on what the best way to do that is.)
Mary is busy creating flyers to spread the word about Jesus’ sermon as Rhema is trying to read and learn an important Scripture.
Psalm 139: My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! (We are all children of God.)
The woman from Ethiopia has joined Jesus’ followers and she is learning about the group from both Mother Mary and Thomas.
Thadeus, Nathaniel and Little James have been sent by Jesus to find a place for the sermon to be given. It’s as if Jesus knows the exactly where this should be, giving a detailed description of land overlooking the Sea of Galilee. After finding what appears to be the perfect place, the Disciples meet with the owner, negotiate, and convince him to let them use the land for free, with the help of our two unscrupulous, con artists.
Shmuel meets with Rabbi Shammai and conspires against both Jesus and the other Rabbi Shimon. (Two houses fighting against each other/Brother against Brother)
Jesus and Matthew are working on the sermon. They watch as the group leaves to hand out the flyers Mary has written. (They are heading out to spread the WORD just as Jesus calls us to do. Jesus seems to be sad when He looks at the empty camp.) Jesus says that “My Words are for all those who have been through tough times and for people who are hesitant and skeptical as well as bold and confident. They are open to all those who are hungry to learn, as well as those learned and knowledgeable. Disagreements over what is said and meant are to be expected but not desired.”
“Don’t be anxious about your life” is Matthew’s favorite line in the sermon so far, but he believes that the sermon holds more bad news than good news. He gives examples:
“Anyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery” meaning everyone is an adulterer.
“If your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out” which leaves an entire population of people with only one eye.
“If anyone sues you and takes your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”
“Trees that do not bear good fruit should be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
“The gate is narrow and hard that leads to life; depart from me, I never knew you.”
“Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.”
Matthew asks if Jesus realizes how heavily laden this sermon is and how ominous it sounds.
Jesus says that his sermon is a “Manifesto” andthat he is “not there to be sentimental or soothing. He is there to start a revolution not a revolt. It is a radical shift in what everyone is used to doing. He is not there to say well done, keep doing all you have been doing for the last 1,000 years.”
They talk about Jesus’ followers being the SALT of the EARTH. “Salt preserves meat from corruption and slows its decay.”Jesus calls us to hold back the evil upon the earth. “Salt enhances flavor.” Jesus calls us to renew the world, to be part of its redemption. “Salt can also be mixed with honey and rubbed on the skin for medicinal purposes.” Jesus calls us to participate in the Healing of the world, not its destruction.
Jesus tells Matthew that “These things will make sense to some but not to others. I don’t want passive followers. Those who are truly committed to Me will peer deeply into what I say. I want them to look deeply into it, looking for truth.”
Matthew suggests starting the sermon with, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Or maybe Jesus should use “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”
FEAR, NERVOUSNESS, WORRY, ANGER, FRUSTRATION and DOUBT are not from God.
The group disperses all of Mary’s flyers and returns to camp to find that Jesus and Matthew are still not back. Everyone is nervous, speculating as to why Jesus is always gone. Andrew is worried Jesus will never come back. He is still upset about losing John the Baptist. They discuss that all their efforts may have been for nothing.
(We sometimes feel that what we do for God is wasted time when we don’t see immediate results. We wonder sometimes if God truly sees or knows what we do or try to do in His name, when we spread His WORD. None of the feelings listed above, come from God. The devil wants to stop us from doing what God wants us to do, so HE causes all of those negative feelings to distract us and to throw us off course. Don’t let him.)
Thomas says his only concern is that he wants to be certain that he has done everything he can for Jesus. Rhema encourages Thomas that he always does.
(We need to encourage one another on this journey of faith and service. Our words make a difference. We can either build up or tear down. We can either encourage or discourage one another. What we say matters.)
Jesus tells Matthew He has found the words to say. They are a map / directions as to where people should look to find HIM.
As Jesu looks over the camp where all of his followers are sleeping, Jesus gives Matthew the introduction to His sermon:
He thinks of Nathaniel struggling under the tree, calling out to God:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
He thinks of Andrew mourning the loss of John the Baptist and how Simon holds him when he cries:
“Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
He thinks of Little James and Thadeus and how simple and pure their faith is:
“Blessed are the Meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
He remembers the Sons of Thunder, Big James, and John:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
He reflects on how caring His Mother and Rehma were when Mary Magdelene, returned and asked to be forgiven.
“Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall receive Mercy.”
He remembers how difficult it was for Thomas to leave his business and for Rehma to leave her father to follow Jesus. Jesus recognized their unconditional faith in Him and the affection and loyalty they have for one another.
“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”
He remembers howPhilipis always trying to keep the peace:
“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
He thinks fondly of His cousin, John the Baptist, who was arrested, beaten, and killed out of spite and for preaching about the coming of the Messiah and warning all to turn from sin.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
He looks then to Matthew who has been persecuted his entire life, is still an outcast in the group after following Jesus, and is now, again being criticized and talked about because he is helping Jesus with the sermon:
“Blessed are you, when others revile you, and persecute you, and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Matthew asks how all of this is a map. Jesus tells him, “If anyone wants to find ME those are the groups they should look for.”
…”AND THEN?” Matthew asks.
Jesus says, “YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH.”
The next morning the group gathers to set up and prepare the area for Jesus to give His sermon. Thousands gather including the Roman soldier Gius, the spy and many family members and friends, like Simon’s wife, friends from the red quarter and James and John’s Mom and dad.
It is then that the young, business apprentice, who is interested in hearing, meeting, and following Jesus, is introduced. We learn that this is Judas.
Mary, Mary Magdelene, Rehma and the Ethiopian woman all agree Jesus should wear some color. Simon’s wife, Eden, breaks the tie vote and Jesus wears a blue sash, which represents PEACE.
Jesus and his mother have a final moment before his sermon. They speak of Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, who is not there to see the man Jesus has become. Joseph is not there to hear Jesus speak. Mary tells Jesus how proud she is of him and gives final words of encouragement. They also exchange the same words spoken before when Jesus was a child and before Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast.
“IF NOT NOW, WHEN?” Simon announces, “It is time.”
(Timing is everything and God’s timing is perfect. When God calls us to do something it’s usually time sensitive. So, if He is calling you to step out in faith, reach out to those around you or even far away, don’t question. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t be afraid or doubt your ability. Don’t get frustrated when you don’t see immediate results for your effort. Don’t be nervous about what to say or do. Don’t be afraid when you are criticized or persecuted for doing what God calls you to do. God knows. God has your back. You are part of a much greater picture than you can even imagine. You have been CHOSEN to be part of something amazing. Besides, Jesus promised your efforts will be recognized and rewarded in heaven and that’s all that counts. So, answer His call. Be strong. It’s time. “IF NOT NOW, WHEN?”)