(from August 2013)
A trivia-loving friend of mine once asked me to name a movie that fits every genre, “Oh, and there’s only one.” That movie, according to him, is The Princess Bride. Think about it. It fits the children’s genre as well as comedy, action, drama, suspense, romance, horror, plus it’s got Fred Savage (Wonder Years), Columbo, Cary Elwes, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright (Jenny from Forest Gump), and Billy Crystal. How can you go wrong? [Side note: in what section of Netflix would you begin to search for it?! Good luck with that.]
What does The Princess Bride have to do with Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount? More than you might think. There’s one scene in particular that comes to mind. In The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya, Fezzik (Andre the Giant), and Vizzini have captured Buttercup, and Wesley (who is then disguised as The Dread Pirate Roberts) is following them. As those three with Buttercup try to escape Wesley and keep him from catching up to them, they first try to outrun him in their boat, but he keeps up with them. (“Inconceivable!”) Next they try to shake him while scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, but they can’t. (“Inconceivable!”) Then they unleash Inigo Montoya on him in a duel, but Wesley prevails. (“Inconceivable!”) Next they try to overpower him with Fezzik, but Wesley wins again. (“Inconceivable!”) And finally it comes to a test of the wits, a battle of the mind with Vizzini, in which Wesley again is the victor. After Wesley passes each of these stages, Vizzini exclaims “Inconceivable!”, and finally after Inigo Montoya has had enough, he looks at Vizzini and says, “You keep using that word. I do not think that means what you think it means.”
In Matthew 5-7 (what English scholar John Stott calls "Jesus's manifesto on Christianity"), Jesus is speaking to the disciples and the crowd that has followed them, and in this passage he basically says to them, “Christianity? Disciple? You keep using those words. They do not mean what you think they mean.” In other words, Jesus is saying to them, you’ve been getting your definition of what it means to be a Christian disciple from the world around you, instead of getting it from me. [In their day they obeyed dietary laws and circumcision laws and thought themselves to be Christians because of it. What would those things be today? Church attendance? “Quiet times”? Evangelism practices? All good things, of course, but they do not a Christian make.]
In Matthew 4:19 Jesus says "follow me and I will make you fishers of men." In Jesus's Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, he explains what it means to follow him.
In these chapters, Jesus has some very radical statements about what it means to be a Christian disciple. Even though people around him thought that those who are blessed (or “happy”) are the strong, powerful, privileged, comfortable, or secure, Jesus says to them “blessed are the poor in spirit” (5:3), “those who mourn” (5:4), “the meek” (5:5), “the merciful” (5:7), and “the persecuted” (5:10). He says other seemingly crazy things like, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (5:44), “beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to by seen by them” (6:1), “take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (7:5), and “ask and it will be opened to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…. How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (7:7, 11).
You see, what Jesus is doing in this passage, is saying you want to know what it means to “follow me” (Matt. 4:19)? You want to know what it means to be “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19)? Here it is. This is what Christianity is all about. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
This semester at our weekly meetings we will be studying together Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in our series “Christianity According to Jesus”. We meet on Wednesday nights at 8:30 in the I.T. Building room 1005. We would love for you to come join us and hear about Jesus, who alone is “perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), but became sin so that you might become perfect (2 Cor. 5:21).
Bring a friend and join us to hear what the Bible says Christianity is all about, according to Jesus.
Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Georgia Southern University hopes to be a safe place for Christians and non-Christians alike to hear the truth claims of Christianity within an imperfect, loving community. A place where Christians can grow and rest in the great love of Jesus, and where skeptics are safe to hear, process and question. We are here for the strong and the weary, the hopeful and the cynical, the “on-fire” and “burnt out”.