Daily D – Matthew 5:1-2

by | May 3, 2022 | Daily D | 0 comments

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Matthew 5:1, 2  Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. 

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://matthew.bible/matthew-5-2

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.

Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Mt 5:1–2.

Sometimes life feels like a spiral. Sometimes we spiral up. Sometimes we spiral down. Sometimes we feel like we are going in circles. Maybe this is because we are. 

If you are a person of a certain age, go back in time to when you were twenty years old. Remember as best you can what life looked like in those days. What were your most significant concerns? What were your hopes and dreams? What were you most certain of in your life?

Fast forward to age forty and ponder the same questions. Fast forward again to age sixty and repeat the assignment. One last time, do the same for age eighty. You may not have reached sixty or eighty yet, but from where you are, you can see certain issues important to persons at those life stages.

Our family took annual summer trips to the Glorieta Conference Center when our children were young. For nine straight years, we drove to that beautiful retreat center in the mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Leaving the heat of a Texas summer to enjoy the cool of the mountains was a special treat. 

Climbing high above the retreat center on the trails up the mountains was so much fun. Those hikes provide deeply formed memories. One thing we noticed on the way up and again on the way down is how perspective shifts with the elevation. How we felt in relation to the tower of the worship center is a good example. (Follow this link: [https://bit.ly/39CHs6F])

Standing at the base of the tower, a person has to look up, up, and up. Standing where this photo was taken, a person looks, down, down, down. The farther up the climber goes, the more the perspective changes. 

What perspectives shifted as Peter and Andrew, James and John walked with Jesus and heard him teach (4:23), saw him heal all kinds of physical and spiritual maladies (4:24), and experienced the crowds coming from everywhere to be with Jesus?

What perspectives shifted further as they heard Jesus teach what we call The Sermon on the Mount? His first message was short and maybe not altogether sweet. It echoed what John the Baptizer had said. We find it in 4:17: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

It may have sounded like Jesus was saying a self-directed, self-focused life is not really the good life we think it is. Jesus seems to think there is something better than living the life of your dreams and that is living the life of his dreams for you. Talk about your shift in perspectives!

Whereas Jesus and John were talking about repentance earlier, Jesus now shifts to talking about what we receive when we turn away from self-focused decision-making. The very first thing he says is we become supremely happy (blessed) when we live the life of his dreams for us. 

It sounds like what Jesus is saying is the television shows and movies where characters say what they want for themselves and others is a bit off-center when they say, “I just want you to be happy,” or “I just want to be happy.” Deep and lasting joy, according to Jesus, is found in something other than seeking happiness. 

Listen again to The Message paraphrase of these first two verses of Matthew 5:

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.

Are you an apprentice of Jesus?
Are you committed to him?
Are you still climbing with him?
Are you still learning from him day by day?

Are you open to experiencing a perspective shift? 

Everything changes when we walk with him, when we are committed to him, when we climb with him, when we listen to him. People are not afraid of change, they are afraid of loss. The changes Jesus leads us into are not losses, instead, they are the best kinds of gains. They turn things like poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, peacemaking, and persecution into stepping stones toward deepest joy. 

How do you see things from your perspective? Jesus invites you to climb higher, to go deeper, to experience a kind of abundance you never dreamed possible. Jesus dreams better for you than you dream for yourself. Climb with him. Sit with him. Listen to him. The changes he brings create more than shifts in perspective, they create turning points (repentance) leading to receiving so much more than anything we give up in exchange.

I will live into the beauty and wonder of God’s dreams for me.

Our Father, you have known me from eternity past (Ephesians 2:10). You know what you want me to become in your mercy and by your grace. This is what I want as well. You dream better than me. I gladly exchange my idea of the good life for yours. I am ready to climb. Amen. 

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