On The Mountainside (Matthew 5:1-2)
By Jennifer Waddle
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.” - Matthew 5:1-2
There’s an open space at the top of one of the mountain trails a few minutes from my house. It’s a place where hundreds of sunrise services have taken place and where thousands of people have hiked to view the surrounding beauty.
As I picture it, I can’t help but liken it to the mountainside where Jesus taught the multitudes. Without a microphone or a way of projecting His voice, Jesus spoke words of blessing, warning, and wisdom to His followers. Miraculously, His message was carried through the crowds as they held on to every word He spoke!
When was the last time you or I held fast to the words of Jesus? In our day-to-day lives, how have we recalled His blessings, His warnings, and His promises? I don’t know about you, but I find that I have a few Bible passages I carry with me. They are passages that comfort and guide, and I’m deeply grateful for them. However, I want to place myself on the mountainside and eagerly listen to every word Jesus spoke—not just the feel-good passages that are familiar to me.
Along with the beauty and encouragement of the beatitudes, I want to hear the warnings Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:21-48. For just as He commended the peacemakers, calling them the “sons of God,” He also warned that angry people would be liable to God’s justice. Whether a blessing or a warning, every word Jesus spoke was righteous, holy, and just.
Theologically, it’s important we don’t ignore the side of Jesus that called sin “sin.” It’s beneficial to receive both His words of love and gentleness as well as His words of conviction. This is how we grow in our faith—by submitting to all of Jesus’ teachings.
So what do you say? Will you join me on the mountainside? Are you willing to hear all the words of Jesus spoken throughout the Scriptures? The great thing is, you don’t need an actual mountaintop experience to hear the words of the Savior. They are written and recorded for us throughout the Gospels.
To get started, here are a few study guides to consider:
While we can’t go back and join the multitudes during the Sermon on the Mount, we can join Jesus right where we are. We can tune our hearts to receive every word He offers—the messages that are easy on the ears and the commands that are a bit difficult to hear. In the end, we will join Him on a heavenly mountainside, renewed and restored. But until then, let’s purpose to meet with Him and listen intently to His words of blessing, warning, and promise. After all, they are words we can count on!
Jennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
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