God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. Hebrews 1:1-3
This is a statement of finality, is it not? Jesus has had the last word. Jesus Himself has stated that all the law and the prophets can be summed up into one thing: love. Love God … and love your neighbor. That’s it. Do this and you will be fulfilling the whole law and the prophets. Jesus didn’t just summarize; He replaced.
The words of Jesus in the red letter Bible are red because they are the last words from God. In these last days God has spoken to us through His Son. The words of Moses are not red. The words of Isaiah are not red. None of the words of the major and minor prophets are red. The words of Peter, James, John and even Paul are not in red. Not in any of my Bibles and not in yours.
The words of Jesus should take precedence over all other words. Yet I would venture to guess that the words of Jesus are the least known in most churches today. The Sermon on the Mount — three chapters of red letters — would be new news in lots of churches. I grew up in the church and I did not take the Sermon on the Mount seriously until after college. Aside from the Beatitudes, I didn’t even know it was there, and yet the Sermon on the Mount is distilled from all of the teachings of Jesus. Don’t you think we would be the most familiar with these words? But we are not. I can clearly remember leaving large portions of the red letters in my Bible alone because they were hard to understand. They didn’t go along with my culture. They were countercultural. They were countercultural when Jesus first spoke them as they are today. They killed Jesus over these words. That’s how radical they were. They are no less radical today.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt. Blessed are the losers. Blessed are those who hit the wall. Blessed are those who hit bottom. This is about as hard to get to as Step One of the Twelve Steps, and yet it is the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. It is the doorway into the wealth of teaching that is Matthew 5, 6 and 7. If you can’t get beyond these opening words then forget the rest. This is the beginning of the red letters of my Bible. This is what the disciples heard day in and day out. Jesus didn’t just say this once on a mountain; He said it over and over again. Why don’t we know this like the back of our hand? Well get ready, because we’re about to.