Our passage this week (Matthew 6:25-34) lands in the middle of Jesus’ famous ‘sermon on the mount’. It is Jesus’ longest public address at around 2000 English words and, assuming no interruptions, would have taken only 12 minutes to deliver, making it somewhat shorter than most modern sermons! It is yet another place where God delivers profound wisdom in a delightfully concise manner. Ten ‘words’ for the Ten Commandments, 57 Greek words for the Lord’s Prayer and a whole way of living in just 2000 words.
Matthew introduces the sermon on the mount with the words of chapter 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.
In amongst Jesus’ listeners on this Judean mountainside are two clear groups. There are ‘the crowds’ and ‘the disciples’. Matthew implies that Jesus’ teaching is primarily for the second group. He is teaching them what it is to walk ‘in the way of Jesus and with the heart of Jesus, a phase that will be familiar to you that call South Fellowship home. We, his modern day followers (or disciples), are striving by his power to live in the way he would have us to live.
The conclusion of the ‘sermon on the mount’ is found in Matthew 7:24: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” The crowds are in awe at his teaching, and as a group, they serve as a reminder to us that the way of Jesus lived out in our daily lives is inspirational to people that see it in action. We are invited to take hold of his words in Matthew 6:25-34 and to live them out. We can only do this with his help.
Which of the two groups do you identify with? The Crowds? Or the Disciples?
Read this week’s passage. Do you read Jesus’ teaching as ‘good advice’ or a ‘way to live’? What is the difference? How do you read Jesus’ words on anxiety? How can we surrender our way of living with anxiety to embrace his way of living by faith?
If you have chosen discipleship with Jesus, how is the Holy Spirit currently asking you to obey his teaching? How are you seeing yourself grow more like Jesus?
If you haven’t chosen discipleship, what holds you back from joining in the ‘Jesus journey’?