Part of the Crowd or A Disciple?
We have enjoyed several weeks in the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. This week we will conclude that introduction (Matthew 5:1-16).
Each time we have gathered we have read the entire introduction as we focused on a specific section or passage for the day. I would like to draw your attention back to the very beginning (Matt 5:1). Notice there are two groups of people who are a witness to Jesus' teaching on the true Christian life.
Matthew 5:1 reads: "Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him," (NIV)
Do you see the two groups of people gathered around? The first group is the crowds and the second group is Jesus' disciples. The "crowds" represent a larger group of people who are simply around Jesus. Some may want to hear what He has to say or catch a glimpse of this man that is becoming famous. Perhaps they were simply walking by that day and were swept up in the excitement of it all or simply could not get away.
The second group we see as witnesses to Jesus' sermon are His disciples. His disciples are a smaller group within the crowd that are set apart and are different from all the rest. These disciples have made a commitment to follow Jesus, to learn from Jesus and to fashion their life after their teacher.
The difference between the two groups can be summed up in one word: Commitment. Both of these groups can be found today in the world, in our communities, in our families and even in our churches. There is one group, "the crowd", that likes to be around what is happening, may have some interest and even curious about what is being taught but makes no commitment to follow Jesus. And then there are those who have sold out to Christ. True followers of Christ have made a commitment to allow His teachings to direct their lives and make every effort to follow His instructions in their daily walk.
Are you living as a true follower of Christ or are you traversing through life as part of the crowd? That is a question we all must ask ourselves daily.