Matthew 5:1 ~ "Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him."
Jesus was pressed by large crowds during the length of His ministry. They often sought to see another miracle from Him, and in the midst of those works, He faithfully spoke God's word to them. There were times the massive crowds of people loved what the Lord spoke--other times they wanted to throw Him off a cliff (see Luke 4:29).
But Jesus didn't perform His miracles and do His work in order to amaze the crowds. His entire work was to bring glory to the Father and give evidence to who He is. And it is His teaching that must drive our feet to follow Him. The Lord said this, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life" (John 5:24). The works of miracles were there to confirm His word. In John 10:38 Jesus said, "But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
As the crowds grew, the Lord climbed up a mountain and sat down. The time had come for the work of healing and miracles to stop and the work of teaching to begin. In the day, a rabbi would have his disciples gathered around him to teach them, and he would signal that time when he sat down. Jesus does this very thing, and what a message He presented--the Sermon on the Mount.
But why did Jesus climb a mountain? With such a crowd around Him, it would make it very difficult for all of them to gather around. He would have greater access to the crowd if He remained in their midst. But Jesus didn't sit down to teach the crowds. In truth, the crowds did hear Him as seen in Matthew 7:28-29, "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes." But Jesus didn't sit down for the crowds--He sat down to gather His disciples.
The time of teaching had come, and His disciples came to Him. What a wonderful statement of the desire that His true followers have for the very word of God. When the time of the teaching of the Word of God comes, do you gather to listen? Peter recognized the extreme value of the words of Christ in John 6:68, "Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"
In a society driven toward entertaining attractions, the preaching and teaching of the Word of God is often forsaken for something more exciting. And there are those who see this trend and try to compensate their work to accommodate the desires of the crowds. Jesus did not do that. He never stooped to the demands of those who sought Him out only for another sign. Even at the moment when they wanted to make Him King through force, Jesus withdrew Himself from them (see John 6:15).
But when the Scriptures are opened and the opportunity arrives to come to the feet of Jesus' words, His disciples will gather around to listen. May it be said of the church today that the longing of our hearts is still for Christ and His word.
In His Grace,
From the Mountains to the Sea
Every step we take on this journey called life ought to be used for greater understanding. I've lived from the mountains to the sea, and this blog is my personal thoughts and observations with a desire for Biblical understanding. Welcome.