We are about to enter the Sermon on the Mount, which has been titled by some as the greatest sermon ever given to human ears. It is great not only because of what it says, but because of the preacher. Jesus is preaching here, and we should all give ear to what He is saying.
Before we begin to discuss this sermon, it important to recap a few things to understand to whom Jesus was speaking. We remember that Jesus began His ministry in Galilee of the Gentiles. A place that was once renowned for its’ people following The Lord. They have, at this time, greatly fallen from grace, and Jesus begins His ministry.
People began to flock to Him. They saw His grace that was freely given to those who sought it. They saw His power to heal the sick. They saw and heard the way he spoke with the religious leaders of the day. There was an excitement in the air, when they were around Him. They wanted more, and followed Him to get more. People were following Him from all around to see what He would say or do next. This wasn’t just a few folks who were curious. We remember the previous study where crowds were following Him from all around the region. In Matthew 5:1, we learn Jesus looked at the crowds, and then He went up into the mountain to begin this great sermon.
As I study this text, I think about what this must have looked like. I think about what faces were in the sea of faces on the slope of that mountain. I think about the expressions on their faces. Undoubtedly there would be expressions of excitement, wonder, and even skepticism. In my mind, I observe a sea of humanity standing before divinity embodied eagerly anticipating His next move. They wanted to see what was going to happen next. I now think about people following Jesus today. How do we react to Him? Do our faces show excitement? Do they show wonder? Do they show skepticism? We have the message that they didn’t have yet, but I think it sometimes gets old in our minds. We lose our passion because we think we know all there is to know. We lose our wonder because we no longer look for His next move. Our skepticism is still reflecting in the mirror.
There are times we are taught in the text, and there are times that we are encouraged. I was encouraged studying this small verse in context with who was following Jesus, and wanted to share with you all. People from all over the region, and from different cities all converged at Jesus. Their dividing lines were of no matter. This is an encouragement to not be status quo. Our excitement should be greater than the people who were there that day on the slope of the mountain, because we have the rest of the story. Our wonder should be greater that these people because we have all of His miracles to include the most grand when He rose on the third day. Our skepticism should be removed by our thorough knowledge of His works, and by His motivation to save us all from our own sin. Lastly, we must remember that whatever dividing lines that are drawn by our society find no relevance in His presence, because they are mostly man-made things anyway. This is an encouragement to focus on Him more and less on ourselves.
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Matthew 5:1 – “Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, his disciples came to him.”