Proximity to the Teacher
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Psalm 25:4-5; Psalm 86:11
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.
Everyone knows that the serious students sit at the front of the class so they don't miss anything the teacher says. In today's passage in Matthew 5 we see Jesus' disciples doing just that, sitting close to learn.
The lessons of the teaching that day ranged a wide variety of topics including: living different from the world and therefore influencing it; Jesus' relationship to the law; murder; adultery; divorce; vows; revenge; love for enemies. And that is just in the first of 3 chapters.
Doesn't that sound like a lot to learn in one setting? But you see, the disciples had a base knowledge on these themes. Having grown up in Jewish homes they would have known the law by heart. So why did they sit at Jesus' feet to learn? Because they wanted more than the basics. Jesus needed them to know more, for reasons they wouldn't know until after He left this world.
Jesus concluded His introductory section of the lesson with this warning dressed as a blessing, "“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:11-12) Do you see the warning? Notice the "when" in His warning? This isn't a matter of "if" but of "when". The disciples needed this deeper teaching because they would be facing persecution they couldn't yet imagine.
You see, this is the truth of what it means to follow Jesus in the way of the Cross, to walk the path of persecution for the glory of God. And to truly walk this way we need to draw close to the Teacher. We need to seek a deeper understanding of His teachings so we can follow Him in the fullest level of discipleship.
To be a true follower of Jesus in the way of the cross is to go beyond the simple going to "see" Him once in a while to see if He can help you with some pain or problem. There were many that did that with Jesus, but His true followers drew close and sought more of the truth He taught.
His true followers still do.
Making it real
How hungry are you for His teaching? What are ways that hunger reveals itself in your life? Are you accepting of the fact that you will face persecution for your following Christ?
Making it personal kids
Persecution is a form of mean bullying, hurting you because you love Jesus. Has anyone made fun of you because you love Jesus or because you pray or go to church? Jesus told us they would make fun of us if we love Him and that makes us special in His eyes.
Father, please give us an increasing and unceasing desire to learn more about how You say we should live. Give us the strength to stand for You no matter how others treat us. Thank You. In Jesus' name, amen.