Matthew chapter 5 is the “Sermon on the Mount” chapter. It begins with an interesting phrase: “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain”.
First read: Jesus was with a lot of people, so he decided to go up a little higher so he could have more room to teach them.
Its a boring phrase really…or is it? Consider this:
- Jesus recognizes the situation he was in and responds accordingly. He saw the multitudes, so he went into a mountain. He didn’t consult with others first, he just went. When do we do that? Have a problem? Do the solution. In a bad place, get out. See someone in need, help them. Doing things that make you unhappy, make the change.
- Jesus was also willing to do the hard thing. He didn’t just stay in the city and preach, he went into the mountain. It was more difficult to go there “seemingly”, but in the end, it was easier because there it was quieter and there he had the space to teach.
- Why were the multitudes there? Many were disciples I’m sure, but many were probably there to see “some great thing”…some miracle. So perhaps Jesus saw all of these people and to avoid a “pearls before swine” scenario, went into a mountain. I’m sure many people wouldn’t follow. It was a way to filter the serious from the casual. The disciple from the gawker. Those that really want to hear would need to hike a little bit, to “leave the city”, to put down their cares and follow Jesus up to the mountain.
- You don’t have to teach everyone, every time.