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Monday, January 17, 2022

ROMANS+—An Illustrated Summary of Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible by G. Campbell Morgan

"On every page of the God-breathed writings are many thoughts that stretch out like long, clear arms of light across the darkness, discovering things otherwise hidden and illuminating wider areas than those of the immediate context. They are searchlights. From a multitude of these, I have selected one in each chapter of Scripture, for at least one central thought in every chapter should arrest the mind and affect the life," wrote G. Campbell Morgan, a wise, warm-hearted, careful Bible teacher who conducted a classic 3-year chapter-by-chapter study called Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible. Here are the fruits of that timeless study—summarized, illustrated, and amplified—on all 66 books of the Bible (posted one book at a time, cumulatively).

Romans 1:15 "As much as is in me." To begin to read this great letter of Paul is to find ourselves in the closing chapters of the Book of Acts. There we found Paul expressing his certainty that he would see Rome, and we followed him through the years of stress that at last brought him there. He wrote from Corinth in Greece toward the close of his third missionary journey, saying, "As much as in in me, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you who are in Rome also." Paul's qualifying phrase "as much as is in me" seems a recognition of both limitation and of resource. The sense of limitation comes from Paul's overwhelming consciousness of the greatness of the Gospel. He knew that no one man could fully explain its depths, but more lay within this devoted man than his natural capacities. Christ was formed within him; he was indwelt by the Spirit. That explains Paul's ability to preach the Gospel in all its fullness as he did in this inspired letter or Book of Romans. The measure in which a man is conscious of limitation is the measure to which he makes possible the operation of those powers that are his in Christ.

Romans 2:4 "God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my Gospel, by Jesus Christ." The phrase "according to my Gospel" is a parenthetical qualification to this statement: "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Here we have a merging of "the kindness and the severity of God" in the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news that God has made righteousness available to sinful men and women through Christ. But the Gospel is also the declaration that all people will be judged by the One through whom that grace has been made available. There we see the finality of the Gospel message: the Savior is to be the Judge. The reverse is just as true: the Judge is the Savior. He whose eternal right it is to sit as Judge has in His Son provided perfect redemption for fallen mankind. By doing so He has not relinquished His right as Judge, but has established it. All men and women must meet Him as Judge, but before they do so He comes to meet them with a righteous and just way of saving them from their sins. If they refuse that salvation, the Gospel declares that by so doing they have not escaped Him as Judge. The Gospel never lowers the standards of divine requirements; it makes them possible of realization. If it is refused, then the Savior as Judge condemns and punishes.

Romans 3:4 "As it is written." That is not the first time we read that phrase in this letter (see Romans 1:17 and 2:24); neither is it the last (see Romans 3:10-18; 4:17; 8:36; 9:13, 33; 10:15; 11:8, 26; 12:19; 14:11; 15:9, 21). Beyond those are many other quotations or allusions to the Hebrew Bible/Torah/Old Testament in the Book of Romans. It reveals the high place of the Holy Scriptures in the thinking of the apostle Paul. The first thing to notice is he never referred to any Old Testament Scripture to deny or correct its teaching. Every reference or allusion to the Sacred Writings is authoritative. All those quotations are from each section of the Hebrew Bible: the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,  Deuteronomy), the Prophets (1 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel, Habakkuk, Malachi), and the Writings (Psalms, Proverbs). Paul quoted generally from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), but sometimes from the Hebrew. He often varied the precise words, but never the essential meaning. A careful study of these facts will help us to a right attitude toward the Old Testament.

Romans 4:18 "Who in hope believed against hope." That is a description of Abraham's mental attitude toward God's miraculous promise that he would become the father of many nations. It also describes the experience of all who live by faith in the Lord God. Hope is the expectation of good things to come with a corresponding activity toward the realization of them. There can be no hope where there are no grounds of expectation. To elderly Abraham, there were no grounds of expectation in his circumstances that he should have an heir, for they denied the possibility. Nevertheless, he hoped. As Paul writes here, Abraham "did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about 100 years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb." Upon what grounds? "The promise of God." Therefore Abraham hoped and he ordered his life accordingly. That is the genius of the life of faith in God, who is utterly reliable. No Word of His can be void of power. Therefore we hope against hope. When there is no ground for expectation in circumstances, we find it in God and what He has promised in His Word.

Romans 5:5 "Hope does not put us to shame because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts." These words lead us a step further in understanding the nature of Christian hope. It triumphs because it knows and believes God, and also because it is not put to shame. That is, it is never overthrown or discredited in any way by the difficult circumstances through which we must pass for it to be realized. On the contrary, Paul explains, we rejoice in those very difficulties because we realize they are instrumental, "knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." The secret of this victorious hope is that the love of God has been poured into those who have saving faith in Christ. Here the idea is not merely that God loves us, though necessarily that is involved. It is rather that He fills us with His love by His Spirit so that we love what He loves and as He loves. That self-emptying sacrificial love becomes the inspiration of all our thinking and doing. It is not only patient love that endures, but also mighty love that accomplishes. It is the secret of toil that never tires until its object is achieved. Where there is such love filling and mastering one's life, hope is never put to shame in the midst of any suffering, and will be ultimately saved from shame as all the toils are vindicated by the glory of the results.

Romans 6:13 "Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead." Christianity is a living religion. The way of entrance is death, but it is the way that leads to life. This was so in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to save, He died. The salvation into which He brings repentant men and women through His death is that of life, and that more abundantly. God moves them to death in the form of self-denial, which is the ending of all confidence in self and all endeavor to win spiritual life by effort. When that occurs, life is received as a grace-gift of God. Then dedication begins. This is an important distinction. When the soul yields to Christ, it is not giving anything to God. It has nothing to give. It yields just as it is because it cannot make itself worthy. When this surrender of a sinful and unworthy being is made, God takes the polluted life and pardons, cleanses, and renews it. Now the renewed, cleansed, and pardoned one is called to present him or herself to God as alive from the dead. "Just As I Am," to quote the famous hymn title, I cannot dedicate myself to God, but I can yield myself to the Savior. In Him I am "accepted in the Beloved." Such dedication is implicit in my yielding to Christ. It must be explicit in my resulting life.

Romans 7:14 "The Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh." These words from the Apostle Paul reveal at once the supremacy and inadequacy of the Law, helping us to understand the difference between it and grace. The Law is spiritual; "it is holy, righteous, and good," to quote Paul. It is not the result of human thought, for it is divine revelation from God that reveals His will. God's Law can be obeyed in material activities as it is accepted and yielded to in spirit. But that is its limit. It is a revelation, not an enablement. It tells man what to do, but does not help him do it. That would be sufficient for man were he living under the power of his spiritual nature, but he is not. Paul speaks for us all when he bluntly states, "But I am of flesh." He is living under the power of his flesh, which means even though he consents to the truth and beauty of God's Law, he is unable to realize it unaided by God Himself through Christ. That realization is the important first of three functions or uses of God's Law. Grace does not lower the standard of God's Law, but it does exactly what the Law cannot do: enables men and women to live according to that standard, fulfilling the New Covenant promise of writing the Law on the heart.

Romans 8:37 "More than conquerors." To conquer is to subdue, master, and overcome in the sense of defeating an attack. Following the list Paul gives at the end of this chapter, to conquer tribulation would put an end to it, to conquer anguish would replace it with joy, to conquer persecution would turn it into patronage or favor, to conquer famine would provide food, to conquer nakedness would provide clothing, to conquer peril would secure safety, and to conquer the sword would destroy the sword. In all these things, Paul says, "we are more than conquerors." This does not mean that, in the senses referred to, we conquer and more. On the contrary, it may mean we do not conquer at all in those senses, but that we do more: we wrest from defeat values that could never be gained by conquest. Enduring tribulation, we are brought through patience and testing to the hope that is not put to shame. Experiencing anguish, we are drawn into fellowship with the suffering that sanctifies. Bearing persecution, we demonstrate true godliness. Suffering hunger, we demonstrate that man does not live by bread alone. In nakedness we reveal the beauty of spiritual adornment. Living amid perils, we reveal the power of our Lord. Dying by the sword, we demonstrate the weakness of the sword. This is more-than-conquering, and is possible only through "Him who loved us."

Romans 9:16 "It depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." This does not mean we are not to will or to exert ourselves. Neither does it mean we enter into the blessings of salvation apart from willing and effort. We must will to do, and we must run well, allowing nothing to hinder. This text does clearly mean that no willing on our part, no exertions of our own, can procure for us the salvation we need. It also means that of ourselves, we shall have no will for salvation, and shall make no effort toward it. Everything of human salvation begins in God. His will is to have mercy. Those who enter into salvation shall do so only because of the everlasting mercy of God. There is neither merit nor cause for glorying in our choice or effort. If God had not willed our saving, neither should we. If God did not work within us, we should work nothing out. Even if we have labored much in His service, we shall have to add that it was not us, but the grace of God working in us.

Romans 10:14-15 "How...? How...? How...? How...?" That list of questions follows an important quote from the prophet Joel, cited not only by Paul here, but also by Peter at the birth of the church on Pentecost: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Paul is emphasizing man's responsibility concerning the salvation provided in Christ Jesus. Salvation comes to a person when he or she calls on the name of the Lord. The How questions reveal the place and nature of the call: the call follows belief, belief follows hearing, hearing follows preaching, and preaching follows sending. Paul traces that movement back to its origin. Let us trace it in the opposite direction to grasp the nature of man's calling on the name of the Lord. God has a message of salvation, and this He sends preachers to proclaim. The preachers proclaim that message. Men and women hear the preacher's message and believe it, but not all are saved by that belief. So far it is merely intellectual, a strong conviction that the message is true. That does not bring individual men and women into salvation. They must now "call upon the name of the Lord." At once we can see that the will of man, displayed in volitional surrender to the message believed, is a necessary part of salvation, by God's design. Everything begins with God, but this crucial responsibility lies with man.

Romans 11:23 "God is able to graft them in again." Paul's great subject in this section is the ultimate salvation of Israel after a lengthy period of unbelief that separated them from the root of spiritual life and health. He saw "some of the branches ... broken off," yet God's purpose through them and for them was not destroyed. The breaking off was very real, resulting from their unbelief, yet if they turned in repentant faith to Christ the Messiah, they would be grafted in again, for "God is able to graft them in again." This text is similar to what Jesus said about Himself as the true vine and true believers as branches abiding in the vine and bearing much fruit through His life in us. Jesus explains that His Father is the vinedresser who removes useless branches that do not bear fruit. That is a solemn truth we must take to heart, but the text here in Romans encourages us to take heart in the grace and power of God to graft back in again branches that have been broken off. But while we recognize that, we must not minimize the dreadful condition of fruitless unbelief. God will never graft in broken branches merely out of pity for them. He will do so only when they repent and return to the true vine, Jesus the Lord of life. Only then will they bear the fruit of good works that they were saved to bring forth.

Romans 12:9 "Let love be without hypocrisy." This twelfth chapter begins the apostolic life applications of the doctrines of salvation. Paul starts with this foundation: "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern the will of God: that which is good, acceptable, and perfect." The church he describes as the Body of Christ, each part having its own giftedness and usefulness. The first order given to the whole is for love to be without hypocrisy. Love is the most beautiful and enduring fruit of the Christian life. It must be without acting, for that is what hypocrisy really is. Mere words without corresponding deeds or deeds without corresponding heart attitudes are mere show. Also, to violate love by failing to abhor evil, even when the violation is in the guise of tender toleration, is itself evil. Love protects the beloved, so it is untrue to itself when it condones evil in any form. Love must cleave to good or be untrue to its deepest nature. This truth is rooted in God's own nature, for "God is love." We, in turn, are called to be "imitators of God" by walking "in love, as Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant sacrifice and offering to God."

Romans 13:10 "Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law." This is a simple statement of a profound truth that corrects many mistakes. Most people are inclined to think of law and love as being antagonistic. Some are confused by the declaration in John's Gospel that "the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." They mentally supply a but between the two statements and assume a radical difference between them, but that word is not there. The distinction is that God's Law tells us what to do, and grace enables us to do it, making Law an expression of love. That is the sense in which love is the fulfilling of Law. Paul illustrates that in this chapter with the Ten Commandments by showing it is impossible to sin against others if we truly love them. Who commits adultery against or murders someone whom we truly love? Every sin, therefore, arises from some cooling or failure of love. Love is the most vigilant and strict guard over all our actions. It is the only motive strong enough to make us true under all circumstances and at all times. Fear may carry us far, but under stress of fierce temptation, it will break down. Love will carry us all the way and leave us still desiring better things than we have ever attained.


Romans 14:5 "Let each man be fully assured in his own mind." This instruction is of great practical value. Its application in Paul's argument is to legitimately disputable matters such as whether one should observe certain days or abstain from certain foods. It is sad and strange how those and similarly unimportant matters have been, and continue to be, reasons for bitterness between fellow Christians. Paul instructs us otherwise by having us focus on our personal duty and our attitude toward others as they focus on theirs. The first is explicit, the second implicit. The personal duty is that a man must be fully assured in his own mind. That means he is to have an opinion. He has no right to unthinkingly adopt the opinions or habits of others. It may be that coming to full assurance on certain matters will demand time and thought, and in the process he may be helped by conferring with others, but at the last he must find his own stand. Going through that process naturally helps him recognize the right and obligation of every other man and woman to do the same. Therefore no one has the right to impose on any other his or her own personal convictions. This is important and reasonable because one person may be helped by observing particular days while another is not; one may find strength in abstinence from types of foods, while another experiences weakness. We each are servants of the Lord who make our choices to please Him, and are to encourage each other to do the same.

Romans 15:16 "The offering up of the Gentiles." This phrase expresses a beautiful idea we are in danger of forgetting: the priestly nature of all ministerial work. Paul was a chosen instrument of God to the Gentiles. We see in the Book of Acts that he was diligent in his calling to preach the Gospel to them and build them up in their faith. Here in Romans he describes that noble labor by God's enabling as an offering to God Himself. In doing his work Paul was exercising the priesthood of worship. What a radiant light that sheds on all Spirit-led evangelistic and pastoral effort! Every person won by the preaching of the Gospel is not only brought into a place of safety and blessing, but is also an offering to God, a gift that gives Him satisfaction, the very offering He is always seeking. Every soul carefully and patiently instructed in the things of Christ, and so made conformable to His likeness, is a soul in whom the Father takes pleasure. We continue working hard not only for the salvation and spiritual maturity of more people, but also to satisfy the heart of God. That is the most powerful motive. There may be times when we are tempted to think of individual men and women as not worthy of our sacrifice, but that temptation will fade when we remember that God is always worthy to receive such sacrifices.

Romans 16:19 "Be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil." This is one of Paul's last expressed wishes in this letter for the believers in Rome, as well as for Christians of all times. Rome, like every great city in human history, was full of wickedness. Evil lures people by its subtlety, its mystery, and its dark depths. The seduction of it is very powerful, for we are all desirous of knowing. Untold multitudes of men and women with many natural abilities have found destruction because, as they say, they desired to see life. What they experienced was not life, but death. Paul wants those of us who love Christ to remain simple in all those things. There are things in the underworld, the very knowledge of which pollutes the soul. It is better not to know. The children of God are permitted to know freely the mysteries of the good, which includes godliness, light, purity, and beauty. In this realm Paul urges us to be wise. By our relation with God in Christ, we Christians are admitted into this wonderful realm. We see life and share it, the more abundant life, the life eternal. In this world of the highest matters the soul is purified, ennobled, and eventually glorified. Here it is better to know. Let us come to full knowledge in these matters, for that is true wisdom. Let it be sought earnestly and persistently.





Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Chosen: Season 2, Episode 8: Beyond Mountains



This episode begins with two younger men, a businessman and his apprentice, seeking to persuade an older man to sell his land to them. The older man is reluctant, but the businessman is persistent. The apprentice speaks up at a crucial moment in the negotiation.
Jesus's disciples at their camp are sawing wood, exercising, and studying. We learn that Jesus and Matthew have been working together on Jesus's upcoming sermon, and that Jesus sent Little James, Thaddaeus, and Nathanael ahead to find the location for this sermon, which will be for multitudes. Simon the Zealot is concerned with providing security on all 4 points of the compass. He wonders what to do about hecklers. Philip says that John the Baptizer used to heckle the hecklers. The other Simon observes that Jesus knows how to handle the religious leaders. All the disciples want to do their best to help Jesus deliver His sermon.
Wanting to do their best for Jesus.

In one tent Ramah reads out loud Psalm 139:15-16 to Mary Magdalene, who is writing multiple invitations to the sermon, which will soon be posted or handed out. Mary herself has been working on memorizing that whole psalm to strengthen her faith.
Preparing sermon invitations.
Studying Scripture.
In another tent Tamar the Ethiopian asks Mother Mary if they all have to learn how to read, being quick to say she is willing to learn if that's what it takes and that she is very grateful for being welcomed to stay. Mary says no and that they're happy to have her with them. Thomas calls out that he has apricots for them to enjoy. They come out and thank him. Thomas asks Tamar if she know if Ramah is coming out soon. Tamar says that she seems intent in her studies and that Mary is busy finishing the invitations--and also crying sometimes. Thomas tells Tamar that Mary went through a bad time recently. Noticing the men arguing in the distance, Tamar asks, "And what about them?" Thomas shrugs and says, "In the most generous explanation, I'd call that love. They all love our Rabbi and want to follow Him in the right way. They just can't agree on what that right way is."
In a bar the businessman and his apprentice discuss what we learn was a successful sale. "It was perfection!" boasts the businessman. "You played your part so well! My look of annoyance was the best I've ever given." The old landowner mentioned the possibility of valuable minerals under his property, and the apprentice acknowledged the possibility of salt without giving anything away. The businessman therefore offered a little more money that sealed the deal, making them look like good guys "while buying a salt mine for the price of a country plot." The apprentice, however, is gloomy and obviously feeling guilty. He says, "Everyone, even Caesar, is enjoying illusions of power and wealth. Sooner or later we all become dust." The businessman first criticizes the younger man's gloom, but then takes a different approach, saying, "Hey, I'm not oblivious, but we have so few opportunities to get ahead in this world." "Opportunities?" counters the apprentice. "It was a calculated deception, and it didn't feel good." The businessman decides to use religion to justify their money-loving actions: "We used what God gave us! Now we'll have greater choices, live better lives. More devotion!" The apprentice says, "What I need is a life I can be proud of! Don't you want to do something that will really matter and be remembered throughout history?" The businessman says, "I appreciate your ambition and I see potential in you every day. Here's an advance. Let's take weeks off and rest, go for walks, do something new, hmm?" The apprentice picks up the bag of coins with a smile, saying, "Really?" The businessman says, "Sure. You're the one that said there's more to life than making money." The apprentice thanks him.
Little James, Nathanael, and Thaddaeus are walking in the hills above the Sea of Galilee, looking for an area Jesus requested that is accessible to crowds within a day's walk of the main cities and with a view of the sea so the elevation is optimal for His voice to carry. It also has to have a good area with trees where He and His disciples can camp the night before. When they see what appears to be the perfect location, they encounter resistance in gaining a friendly hearing, but that doesn't stop them.
Rabbis Shmuel and Yanni are seated before Rabbi Shammai, representative of the strictest interpreters of Jewish law. They claim to have told him everything known about Jesus established by eyewitnesses. Shammai laughs so Shmuel adds nervously, "We can't prove this to be the same person, but the pattern is too striking to ignore." Shammai surprises them with his malice toward his philosophical rivals (especially Hillel and Shimon, mentioned in Season 2, Episode 5 and Episode 6), for he says, "It doesn't need to be the same person. That's what's so wonderful! I will have Shimon dragged for this!" Yanni says, "To be fair, it was Shimon's secretary who called the charges minutiae, not Shimon himself." Shammai counters, "Secretaries don't put words in their Rabbi's mouth. It's the other way around. Minutia--my congregation and students will foam at the mouth when they hear this! Make a written record of your conversation with Shimon's secretary, every word, and file it with the clerk of the special council for false prophecy at the Archive. It must be signed and dated by a ranking Levite." Shmuel inquires, "Why all the exactitude?" Shammai answers, "When this Jesus of Nazareth amasses enough followers and detractors, it will get Rome's attention. Then everyone will know that Shimon was well aware of these offenses and dismissed them. His obsession with reforming God's immutable Law will be exposed for the lazy, negligent, dangerous abomination it is!" Shmuel adds, "Not just Shimon. We opened a case with the Sanhedrin, and Nicodemus dismissed it as immaterial." Shammai says spitefully, "Nicodemus! I've long suspected the lamps were going dim in that house." Shmuel expresses mild disapproval at that insult of his former mentor, but Yanni shushes him. Shammai tells them to spread the word to every Pharisee, Sadducee, Essene, Priest, Scribe, and Teacher they know that Jesus of Nazareth: 1. Identifies Himself using a divine title from the prophet Daniel, the Son of Man; 2. Claims the authority to forgive sins; 3. Violates Shabbat on multiple occasions, and commands others to do so; 4. Eats with tax collectors and other sinners. Those are the facts. Now Shammai wants to hear speculation. He is shocked to learn that some of Jesus's disciples were students of John the Baptizer, whom Shammai considers a freak he is glad to be rid of, and maybe once connected with the Zealots. He wants all these things he considers negative to be spread far and wide with the ultimate goal of bringing down his philosophical rivals, and elevating himself. Now it is Yanni and Shmuel who are shocked. Shmuel states, "Respectfully, we didn't come here to influence schools of thought. We came looking for someone who would care that a false prophet is deceiving our people." Shammai cuts him off, saying, "If that was your intent, you have succeeded. Everything you shared with me will make an appearance in my next Shabbat sermon." Yanni and Shmuel look troubled.
Jesus and Matthew are working on a very different kind of sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, section by section. Jesus invites Matthew to rise from the rock where he has the parchments containing Jesus's sermon notes. They both observe the disciples leaving the camp to spread the word about the upcoming sermon with the notices Mary prepared. Matthew says, "I hope they find a way to work together. They can't seem to agree on a single thing lately." Jesus tells Matthew He has noticed and it is not desirable, but adds, "In some ways it's to be expected when you start something that's open to all people, including Zealots and tax collectors. People who have been through tough times, people who are both hesitant and skeptical as well as bold and confident. People hungry to learn as well as those learned and knowledgeable." As Jesus and Matthew get back to work, Jesus asks His secretary what section stands out most to him. Matthew answers immediately, "Do not be anxious about your life." Then Jesus asks if there are any sections that concern him, encouraging him to be honest, saying, "You know I won't be offended." Matthew is concerned that when doing the math of the good news and the bad, there's not a lot of good news. He gives a few examples: teaching on lust and adultery, giving to enemies, bad trees cut down, the gate to life is narrow, "Depart from Me; I never knew you." Matthew concludes, "Do you realize how heavily laden Your sermon is with these kinds of ominous pronouncements?" Jesus says, "It's a manifesto, Matthew. I'm not here to be sentimental and soothing. I'm here to start a revolution." Matthew counters that loving one's enemies doesn't sound like war. Jesus clarifies that He is not talking about revolt: "I'm talking about a radical shift. Did you think I was just going to come here and say, 'Hey everyone, just keep doing what you've been doing the last thousand years since it's been going so great?" They then discuss how the sermon opens. Jesus thinks it needs an introduction that serves as an invitation into what is a complex and at times challenging set of teachings. Matthew doesn't understand what "you are the salt of the earth" means. Jesus explains, "Salt preserves from corruption; it slows decay. I want My followers to be people who hold back the evil over the world. Salt also enhances the flavor of things. I want My followers to renew the world and be part of its redemption. Salt can also be used for maladies. I want My people to participate in the healing of the world, not its destruction." Matthew wonders why He doesn't just say that. Jesus chuckles and says, "Allow Me a little poetry, huh? These things will make sense to some, but not to others. I don't want passive followers. Those who are truly committed will peer deeply into it, looking for Truth."
Little James, Thaddaeus, and Nathanael are seated in a bar with the owner of the property where they want to have the sermon, but the unfriendly owner says he came only for the free drink. Overhearing their conversation is the businessman, seated with his apprentice, who says, "What about product association? If Jesus is as important as they say, and the sermon is as significant as they are predicting, think of all those pilgrims who see Him as more than a teacher. How many did you say, hundreds or maybe thousands?" Nathanael says they expect multitudes and confirms Jesus's miraculous healings. The apprentice speaks up: "Thousands of people having life-changing experiences on your land. They could see miracles." The businessman asks, "What happens when those pilgrims go to market for supplies? They will associate your products with the feelings they had on that day." Little James, following this line of thinking, adds, "Your milk, your cheese, your wool!" The owner follows along as well and agrees. Nathanael promises to leave the property better than they found it. After the owner leaves, Thaddaeus turns to thank the businessmen who helped them, but they are gone.
The businessman is walking swiftly with his apprentice, telling him, "You see, life is negotiation! Opportunities are staring us in the face. The only difference between us and most people is that we have the tools to take advantage." The apprentice happily agrees, but knowing that could change again, the businessman says more: "Like you, I think life is more than just money and titles. What would be really interesting is to see this Preacher in person. I've been hearing about Him." The apprentice says he is glad to hear him say that so they both determine to hear the sermon.
Nathanael is back at the sermon site, directing some of the disciples on simple staging plans. Other disciples are passing out or posting more notices, some adding a personal touch by seeking out and talking with people. Those people, in turn, join the disciples in spreading the word about the upcoming sermon. When the disciples meet back at camp, they speculate on what will happen: will no one show up, will everyone show up, will Jesus be there? Some are upset that Jesus has been away with Matthew preparing from early light until dark, so they haven't seen Him in a week. Mary Magdalene says, "I think He's just trying to get it right." Ramah wonders out loud, "Can He get anything wrong?" Mary explains she means getting it right for the people. Thomas explodes, "What if we have all been misled?" Ramah reminds him of the wine Jesus miraculously provided at the wedding in Cana (Season 1, Episode 5). Thomas quickly apologizes for being nervous. Simon observes they are all tired and says they should rest since they need to join the others at the sermon site next morning.
Jesus awakens Matthew because He has decided how He wants to open the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus describes this introduction as a map or directions of where people should look to find Him. He looks out over His disciples' camp and says this while Matthew takes dictation:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." (He pictures Nathanael, when he was weeping under the fig tree in Season 2, Episode 2.)

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." (He pictures Andrew, as he was being comforted by Simon after hearing of John the Baptizer's arrest in Season 2, Episode 6.)

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (He pictures Little James and Thaddaeus cheerfully doing humble work at the camp.)

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (He pictures Himself with James and John when nicknaming them the Sons of Thunder in Season 2, Episode 1.)

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." (He pictures Mother Mary and Ramah draping Mary Magdalene's hair with dignity when she returned in Season 2, Episode 6.)

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (He pictures Thomas and Ramah when they stayed faithful to Him instead of going back home in Season 2, Episode 1.)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." (He pictures Philip with a pleasant and reasonable demeanor as he stands between the two Simons as they argue, his arms stretched out wide between them.)

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness's sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." (He pictures John the Baptizer as he submits peacefully to arrest by Roman soldiers.)

"Blessed are you with 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." (He turns to face Matthew, the ex-tax collector now serving as His secretary.)

Matthew smiles and says yes in approval, but wants to know in what way this is a map. Jesus answers, "If someone wants to find Me, those are the groups they should look for." His introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, later called the Beatitudes, is followed by "you are the salt of the earth."

In the morning multitudes approach the sermon location. Jesus is behind the staging area, reciting His teaching privately while pacing. His mother, Mary Magdalene, Ramah, and Tamar have colored sashes to show Him, hoping He will pick one so His humble clothing doesn't make Him blend into the rocks from the perspective of those seeing Him from afar. Jesus says, "I know what the prophecy says about My appearance" (no special beauty according to Isaiah 53), but He submits with patience as they present these suggestions: blue as a symbol of peace, red representing sacrifice and love, purple symbolizing royalty, and gold representing light. Jesus remarks, "I can't tell you how little I care about how I look," and then asks His mother and the other women what they think. Two choose purple and two recommend blue. Tamar says that blue is a calming color that softens His hard edges. "I have hard edges?" asks Jesus. "You've been known to say hard things," explains Mary Magdalene. Jesus chuckles and says, "Just wait!"
Andrew says nervously to Simon that Thomas estimates about 3,000 people are there so far. Simon guesses there will be 4,000 by the time they start. One special person surprising Simon is his wife, Eden (whom we last saw in Season 1, Episode 8). Jesus, seeing Eden arrive, calls her over to break the tie on what color sash, and also to introduce her to the other ladies.
The businessman says to his apprentice as they survey the crowds walking by, "This is even bigger that I thought!" The apprentice is not surprised, saying, "I had a feeling. I want to see Him and find a place where I can hear Him." The businessman walks off to try to use his powers of persuasion to find them a good spot, encouraging his apprentice to look for the men they helped to secure the sermon location. The apprentice wanders with a big grin on his face, saying, "This is amazing!" He sees an older man with a blind woman walking in a different direction from the crowd and asks if they know where he should stand to hear the Teacher. The blind woman tells the apprentice, "They say He could be the One" (a messianic prophecy from Moses). The older man tells him they will not miss a word and that he could do a lot worse than follow them. That is true because this man and woman are Barnaby and Shula, beloved friends of Jesus and His early disciples from Season 1. The apprentice thanks them for their kindness and follows them as they walk toward their friends.
The Romans Gaius and Atticus are in the crowd, observing Simon the Zealot and John providing crowd control by requesting 5 cubits of distance before the front of the staging area. A man pretending to be a troublemaker gives John a big hug: it is his father, Zebedee, standing by John's mother, Salome. John teases back, saying, "No heckling, you two!"
Many different types of people come to listen to Jesus.
Jesus's mother is quietly draping the blue sash around her Son. Jesus asks what she is thinking about. Mary tells Him she is sorry that Joseph, Jesus's adoptive father, is not alive to witness all that Jesus is doing now. Jesus tells her He misses him too, but is glad she is with Him. Mary tells Jesus she is proud of Him, but He humbly suggest waiting on saying that until seeing how the sermon goes. She asserts, "Whatever You say will be beautiful." He says quietly, "It is pretty good actually." They hold hands, sharing a laugh and a few tears. Simon approaches and says, "Master, it's time."
Simon says it's time.
Barnaby and Shula say hello and are warmly greeted by their friends. The apprentice is still following them, somewhat shyly. Nathanael recognizes him as the man from the public house and makes him feel welcome, encouraging him to stick around. He introduces him to Simon, saying, "This is the man who got us the Mount and the pasture, convincing the landowner it was worth his while!" The apprentice introduces himself as Judas. Simon commends Judas for the good work, and then approaches Jesus again, saying, "Shall we?" Jesus slowly but with a determined stride walks past His disciples, locking warm eyes with each one momentarily. As He steps out to address the multitudes, they sit down to listen to Him. He smiles.



Season 2 ends with the song that concluded Season 1, but adds to it:

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Throw Me like a stone in the water; watch the mud rise up. Dress Me like a Lamb for the slaughter, pour Me in Your Cup. Should have known we’d bring trouble—trouble gonna find you here. Yeah, trouble.

I was one way when You found me, I was not the one you see, and the only thing that happened was this Stranger in between. You can say your eyes are open, you might think your hands are clean, till the wind blows in and the dirt kicks up in ways you've never seen. Yeah, trouble. Yeah, trouble. Use me till I'm scraping the bottom; make my well run dry. Shake them coins; I know where you've got 'em. Kiss me, kiss me, bye. Should have known we’d bring trouble—trouble gonna find you here. Yeah, trouble. Trouble ain't bad if bad is good. I said trouble ain't bad if bad is good. Oh you'd make a little trouble if you understood. You know, trouble ain't bad if bad is good. Trouble, trouble, trouble's gonna find me here. Yeah, trouble.
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