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Seeing the Crowds

Journal Entry // January 21, 2023

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. (ESV)

Matthew 5:1

I have been considering the principles of the Sermon on the Mount for several weeks now during the quiet moments of the day and evening. It began with the Spirit bringing to my mind the words of various sections of this sermon that were intimately relevant to my spiritual journey. Words that comforted me at times and challenged me in others. These words of Jesus wooing and calling me into a deeper and more intimate relationship. A call to reflect on my union with Christ and to motivate me to strengthen this fellowship through a deeply personal communion with Jesus in the Spirit. So that is my plan over the next however many weeks it takes me to journal through the Sermon on the Mount. It could be a month or it could be several months. I aim only to interact and engage with Christ through this message of encouragement and challenge. I want to walk away from each reflection time with a more richly personal understanding of Christ and a heart filled to the rim with his mercy and grace.

As the immense crowds gathered around Jesus to see the wonders and miracles that were occurring, Jesus took the opportunity to seize the moment and teach. I think about the times we live in and I marvel at how rarely this occurs. I think about our desire to be known and applauded by everyone. My desire to be known and be seen. My heart seeks out those times for the masses to make something of me.  Jesus takes this moment when all the crowds are gathered to see him, hoping to witness some wonder and miracle coming from him, and he goes up to the mountain to sit and teach.  He has the multitude gathered to him and he teaches them about the kingdom of God and what it costs to be a disciple. This is where I want my heart to be as well. When I have those moments where the attention is squarely focused on me, how will my heart character respond? Will it reach out to grasp their praise and glory or will I point them to Jesus? Will I breathe in the fickle praise of the masses or will I breathe out the Spirit onto them for the praise and glory of God?

What is the true desire of my heart as I journey through this world following the pathway Christ has laid before me? I am so easily distracted by the cares and worries of this world. The multitudes of people are consistently and incessantly working to pull me off this narrow path. They want me to join them in their frivolities and cast off obedience. Still, they are drawn to Jesus through my faithful obedience. The people will still gather around the witness of a faithful believer. These are the moments to be exactly as Christ taught us. The teachable moments of life. Those times when God brings together and gathers a crowd to witness his faithful servant. In those moments, we teach.  I don’t mean that I will always go to the front and loudly proclaim the glory of God through a sermon or lesson. No, I mean that when God gathers the “crowds” to me, I am to teach them through both my words and deeds.

I can only do this through an abiding intimate union with Jesus. I must be filling my heart and mind with the truth of God’s Word and letting it move from my head to my heart. I must engage with the Spirit for my heart transformation. I must rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. My satisfaction is to only be found in Christ alone. This will transform my heart from self-reliance and pride into dependence and humility. Humility before my Savior and joy in his salvation. Then I am able to bring this message of hope in the glory of Christ to each and every person that God brings before me. Teaching them about this beautiful Savior who loves us completely and fully.

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