These past few days I have been diligently walking through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It seems that each word has taken on new meaning and I find myself, as the crowds did, amazed at these lessons for life presented by the Master Teacher.
As I pondered this “sermon” it seemed appropriate that it was this – the Sermon on the Mount – that Jesus may have had in mind when he instructed his disciples “go and make disciples…teaching them all I commanded you.” After all, there are only really two times when Jesus commanded the disciples to do anything. One when was when they were coming down from the mount of transfiguration and Jesus commanded them to “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead (Matt. 17:9.)” The other was in John when Jesus told them he was giving them a new (not as in replacing an old) commandment that “they love one another (John 15:17.)” Other than these two times Jesus actually commanded nothing other than statements that might be inferred as commandments for example, when he said that not one jot or tittle could be ignored regarding the Law.
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ largest single collection of teachings found anywhere in the Gospels. The only other passage that might come close would be his prayer to the Father in John 17. So…was it the “sermon” that Jesus had in mind when he talked about all the things he had commanded his disciples? It seems that indeed this could be the case. Here are some additional reasons:
- Much of the ten commandments is reflected in that teaching.
- It reflects not only how we should deal with one another, but also how we should approach the Father God.
- It talks about money and it teaches us how to pray.
- It guides us on how to depend on God for everything and at the same time seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.
- We are told what qualities of life will make us genuinely happy and what areas will simply lead us down that wide open path to self-destruction.
When it comes to being a follower/learner of Christ, a.k.a. disciple, the Sermon on the Mount gives us the platform necessary to build a solid and lasting character that reflects Christ and leads us toward that goal of being complete even as the Father is complete/perfect. To press it one step further, it was the very principles taught in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus fleshed out in his own life and ministry. A life that focused on glorifying God the Father by doing what he was commanded to do. We would do well to emulate such an example thus becoming a true follower/learner of the Christ.