For the next couple months I am going to be sharing with you the words of Jesus when he taught the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). I have briefly studied this part of scripture when I taught it to my Sunday School kids but I felt led to take it to a deeper level. My prayer through this journey is that I will learn and understand the core of this message and that you will experience the same thing. Please keep me in your prayers as God opens my eyes and heart and that I can share the unwavering truth of this sermon to you.
Jesus was in the prime of his ministry when the Sermon on the Mount was given. He was very popular at this point in his life and had numerous crowds following him to hear his words and see him perform miracles. The Sermon on the Mount is probably one of his most famous sermons and is very powerful. A.T. Robertson describes it like this; “Jesus repeated His sayings many times as all great teachers and preachers do, but this sermon has unity, progress, and consummation. It does not contain all that Jesus taught by any means, but it stands out as the greatest single sermon of all time, in its penetration, pungency, and power.”
The Sermon on the Mount is pretty much a guideline on how Christians should live their lives. Wiersbe explains it beautifully; “The first sixteen verses of Matthew 5 describe the true Christian and deal with character. The rest of the Sermon on the Mount deals with conduct that grows out of character. Character always comes before conduct, because what we are determines what we do.” Our conduct determines our character. If we live according to the conduct that Jesus describes in these chapters then our character will grow and our walk with God flourishes.
Matthew 5:1-2, “One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.”
a. Verse one indicates there was a “crowd.” Matthew 4:25 says that large crowds were following him everywhere he went and they included the towns of Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and east of the Jordan River. This shows that Jesus was becoming very popular in his ministry. Many ears were there to hear but not all could understand what the true intention of Christ’s mission was.
b. The disciples gathered around to be taught by their Lord. David Guzik states that Jesus was speaking mainly to his disciples. But it also applies to ALL of his disciples, not just the 12. These are the examples we should follow as disciples of Christ.
c. Jesus sat down and the crowd stood as he taught. This was the normal practice of rabbis and their followers. Spurgeon says, “The Preacher sat, and the people stood. We might make a helpful change if we were sometimes to adopt a similar plan now. I am afraid that ease of posture may contribute to the creation of slumber of heart in the hearers.” Will our hearts slumber when we are put in an uncomfortable position for Christ? When Jesus sits to speak with us, will we stand up to listen? A true disciple is a “doer” and not just a “hearer.”
Reader – I pray that you will open your heart and your mind during these next few months and that you will stand up to listen when Christ sits to speak to you. Conduct yourselves the way Jesus calls you to, build your character through his teachings, and watch your walk with God increasingly grow.