Matthew 5:1 & 2
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.
What does the crowd look like today?I think it looks pretty similar to what it looked like yesteryear. It’s a massive group of people who are following each other based on expectation.They may not have sound reasoning for going in the direction they travel. Some of them want to see the spectacular. Some are looking for a new experience, and some are just trying to get something, anything.It’s the world’s way of living — get all you can and can all you get.
I believe many of the people today, and back then, are in the crowd because they perceived that if they followed Jesus, they would be instantly blessed. Maybe he would give them wealth, health and prosperity, here and now — most importantly, now. The crowd often wants something for nothing, and the crowd wants it now!
I was once a part of the crowd, blasting the religious jargon, using the titles with pride and aloofness. I would show up every time the crowd gathered, but I was lacking in direction, purpose, conviction and commitment. You see, it was all about me.
Jesus, knowing exactly what He was after, decided to separate the courageous from the cowardly, the followers from the faithful, the charismatic from the committed, and he did it with simplicity and absolute resolve.He started climbing.
Christ teaches them that the pleasures of this world are temporal, that real joy comes from above. Real joy comes from seeking the kingdom of God and sharing his love with others. He promises the Kingdom of heaven to those who serve now, love now, and suffer now.
The challenge remains the same today. Will we continue to climb, to live with a heavenly perspective?Will we deny ourselves?Will we serve and not be served? Or will we get caught in the trap of the crowd? The trap of the crowd says, prosperity now, healing now, glory now, power, position and possessions now!
Christ calls us to the hillside; he invites us to love those who are easily judged.Feed those who are conveniently forgotten, and touch those who are shunned and scorned in society today.It’s no cakewalk, and only the committed will climb. Are you in for a hike?