A good friend and teacher of mine once pointed out that new christians read through the Gospels and look for two things: (1) Things that make them go "wow" and (2) Things it says they've gotta do. He suggested instead that every verse of scripture can reveal something directly about Jesus and his Father. But somehow I still fail to remember that advice...
For example, I think it's fair to say the "new christian" approach probably describes my own reading of the "Sermon on the Mount" right up until recently (and probably most of what I've ever heard or seen written about it, although your experience may vary). But while Matthew definitely intended to relay Jesus' instructions for living, I now believe Matthew also intended something more, beyond that. Since the whole book was about Jesus, Matthew must have intended for Jesus' teachings to reflect directly, for his readers, who Jesus was and how he lived.
I've enjoyed finding Jesus on the Mount, and I'll be posting more about it in days to come. So if you've never done so before, I encourage you to re-read the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and look for implied descriptions of Jesus' own earthly life, as he lived it unto the Father. Even if you're not so sure about Matthew's intention, it could still be God's intention for us to find Jesus Himself in this passage. [Ya think? ;-) ]
While the devotional value of this reading should be quickly apparent for believers, I'm trying to be much more careful about drawing historical conclusions. I'd love to start a blogger-sation on this in both areas, so feel free to comment or post your own considerations from both a devotional and an historical-critical perspective. No hurry, of course. There are several bloggers whose eventual response to this I will hopefully anticipate, but I won't put anyone on the spot with a "tag" just yet, especially if this is indeed a 'new' idea.
Think about it. More importantly, enjoy finding the Lord. :-)