Several years ago, we had a special guest share in the worship service of the church I was attending.
This guest was a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Masters in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, who now has her PhD in Family Mediation.
This particular Sunday she shared the sad story of a girl who—along with her little sister—entered the foster care system when she was very young. She shared how the girls went from home to home until finally a young couple decided to adopt.
Unfortunately, they only wanted to adopt the older girl. And she ended up having to leave her little sister behind.
The speaker shared that at first things were great. But eventually things went downhill. Way downhill. And through the next several years, this young girl suffered physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual mistreatment, emotional abuse, and was pretty much considered a slave by the couple who had gone to the trouble and expense of adoption.
Her only saving grace was a classmate who shared the gospel with her. This young girl accepted Jesus as her savior and started attending church, when she was allowed, with her friend’s family. She also started reading the Bible and praying.
Later, when the abuse kept getting worse, she ran away. It probably saved her life.
She was invited by the mother of another classmate to come stay with them. This family took her in, helped her through a huge transformation in every area of her life, and even encouraged her to go to college—which she did.
Then the speaker revealed that she was that little girl.
You could have heard a pin drop in that auditorium! We all sat there as tears rolled down our faces.
The story was incredible before. But knowing that the speaker had actually LIVED the story added a dimension that amazed us.
I think that’s how Jesus’s audience at the Sermon on the Mount felt.
I’m sure they had heard similar sermons before, given by the priests and scribes in the temple.
But this was different. This wasn’t a sermon by a preacher who had studied the scriptures.
This was God sharing His view on how life should be lived. And the people listening to Jesus recognized His authority simply by the way He spoke.
Preachers who share TRUTH and are great communicators are a huge encouragement to me to seek God and fulfill my purpose.
But that doesn’t come close to how inspired I am when I actual sense God’s presence, realize WHO HE IS, and hear Him tell me the good news of His plans for my life.
That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.
Matthew 7:28-29 Amplified Bible
28 When Jesus had finished [speaking] these words [on the mountain], the crowds were astonished and overwhelmed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one who had authority [to teach entirely of His own volition], and not as their scribes [who relied on others to confirm their authority].