The new you… the BE-attitudes
“Seeing the crowds, (Jesus) went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them…” (Matthew 5:1-2)
We begin talking about the “Sermon on the mount” with an essential observation.
The Bible makes the point to tell us that Jesus saw “the crowds” and He purposely reacted to their gathering around Him. He moved the location of His “sermon” up onto the mountain and didn’t begin His message until “His disciples came to Him.”
Clearly, Jesus intends His words to be heard by His disciples. The “crowds” are free to listen in, but Jesus’ words are directed to those who are His disciples.
This tells us something vitally important. The words of Jesus are available to anyone and everyone – but they will only be applicable to disciples.
Why so exclusive?
Jesus’ disciples had already committed their lives to Him. They were with Him wherever He went – they ate when He ate, slept where He slept, journeyed wherever Jesus wanted to go.
His disciples were “in this” full-time – whatever that might bring them, wherever that might take them.
The “crowds” had no such commitment to Jesus. They were free to come and go – free to observe everything that Jesus did and said. But their commitment was only to be an observer to what the Son of God did and said. They “hung out” with Jesus, and then returned to their ordinary lives, at day’s end.
This defines the difference in what God is looking to see in us.
Are we “all in?” Or are we “somewhat in?” Or “mostly in?” Are we connected with all the rest of the crowd – or are we fully connected to Jesus.
This is the point of salvation. It is not just so we can get forgiveness for our sins – and feel better about our lives (and go to heaven at the end of our days). The point of true salvation is that our lives end (completely) so we are able to live a new life – as one of God’s Own children. We just simply cannot try to add God to our lives while we keep holding on to the things of this world. That is a “crowd” mindset.
The “crowds” can never know the fullness of the true Christian life. God still loves them. He is still going to show His compassion towards them. But He can never reveal the fullness of His Presence and Power in their lives.
God will not invest the wonder of Himself into part-time followers.
The first essential question of our lives is: am I coming to God on His terms? Or mine? Are we hanging back in the non-committal “safety” of the crowds? Or are we going to come to where Jesus is waiting to impart His ways and His heart to us?
Prayer focus: God, help me evaluate my commitment to You – to being totally Yours!