Thursday, August 03, 2006

Faith and Guidance

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:1-3

So begins what is commonly known as "the sermon on the mount". When reading this passage earlier this week, I noticed something I had never paid attention to before. When a pastor preaches a sermon, he is usually standing on a stage, behind a pulpit, giving an instructive message to the people from a position of authority. But think of the difference in the atmosphere if instead, the person speaking was sitting on the floor, along with everyone else, and speaking to them in that manner? Such a setting is much more intimate and personal, and the speaker seems to be on the same level as the rest, rather than above them. That's what Jesus did, "he sat down".

I know that whenever I've thought of the sermon on the mount, I've always pictures Jesus standing before the people, preaching to them in that manner. But reading this passage thinking of Him sitting in front of the people put it all in a different perspective for me. It felt like Him guiding and advising the people, helping them through their spiritual struggles, rather than Him taking an authoritative stance, exerting His power. He was mighty and powerful and had authority, yet He humbled Himself in coming to the people. In reading these chapters with that perspective, it seemed more real, more personal, and I kept thinking of the love He has for us, so strong that He humbled Himself here on earth to guide and instruct us, and ultimately, to die for us. I think His time of ministry here on earth should mean a lot to us today, seeing how much He gave of Himself and how much love He had for us. We have that example He gave, in showing us how to live and serve others. We also have words He spoke to others, such as the sermon on the mount, telling them how to live and serve as well. It makes God feel much closer and personal, having that account of Christ's life, the written, tangible Word of God. How much He must love us!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


Mrs Blythe said...

Great post.

Despite the film depictions (?spelling) I always imagine Him sitting and teaching just His disciples, in a personal and loving way.

Have you ever seen the Visual Bible's Matthew's Gospel? Bruce Machiano's portrayal of Jesus is just wonderful. This is the Amazon link:

I've had to break the link up to fit in this text box, lol.

I just love that hymn though, we had that at our wedding. That verse is just so heart rending.


Melaney said...

lovely thoughts, Lindsay!

That is such a wonderful way to view that sermon...I had never thought of it before like that!

Love ya,