“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, then he began to speak.” This is how Mathew introduces the Sermon on the Mount. He is clearly referencing Moses who climbed the mountain and spoke to God, then brought God’s commandments to the people. One way of looking at it is that Jesus is Moses. Another, is that the disciples are Moses, receiving wisdom directly from God. Regardless of how you look at it, this is something very important.
I find it interesting that the Beatitudes are addressed to the disciples, and not the crowds. There seem to be different groups within groups. Many of Jesus’s teachings are given to the crowds, to everyone. These tend to be parables, and the crowds don’t seem to understand very well. Others, like the Beatitudes, are given only to the disciples. While some of the more important points, such as “taking up the cross” are given only to the twelve. And even within the twelve, three are often singled out; Peter, John, and James.
So it seems Jesus has a sense of initiation. Not everyone is ready for the heavy stuff. He is aware of the importance of timing, readiness, and spiritual maturity.
The Beatitudes were addressed to the second circle, the disciples. A disciple is someone who has accepted the master. A real student of his teachings. The crowds weren’t ready for the Beatitudes. I see this all the time. Have you noticed how the most vocal “Christians” seldom seem to even try give lip service to the Beatitudes.
So next week I will be writing about the Beatitudes. One a day, I hope!