Disciples in Training

   I want to go back to a well-known event during the time of Christ and take a second look at it and what it may have meant to his disciples, but also to us when we see it for what it was and is and not what we have always seen it as. That event is what we all know it by as the Sermon on the Mount. What I want to show you is that it was not a sermon but an in-depth training class for his disciples and his disciples only.  We are always presented with a picture of Jesus sitting on top of a mount with hundreds if not thousands surrounding him as he gives out the fateful Sermon on the Mount.

   Just before this time we read in Matthew 4:23-25 that Jesus has been busy going around to the synagogues preaching the gospel and healing. As he is doing this his fame is growing and more and more people are starting to follow him. His disciples are of course there with him as he is preaching, but what time does he have to talk with them alone to begin their own training to eventually take up the work that Jesus is doing himself at this moment? This is where the misconception of the Sermon on the Mount comes in. Matthew 5:1,2 Jesus seeing the multitude he you could say retreated up into a mountain where he could talk to his disciples alone and to share with them some very important information that they would need when he was no longer with them.

   After the Disciple training was done in Matthew 8:1 he comes down and the multitude again begins to follow him. Also you need to understand is that when we refer to the disciples we speak not just of the twelve but there were a lot more than just them. Luke 10:1 shows that there were at least seventy other disciples at one time or another. Even John 6:60-66 shows that there was more than just the twelve and many of the disciples even left Jesus because of what he had said.

   Jesus had a lot of work to do in not just spreading the gospel of the Kingdom, but also in training those he would be leaving behind to take up the work while he was away. Face it many if not close to all of the great multitude that followed him did it not to hear what he would say, but to receive some food and healing John 6:25-27.

   Now with that all said and done let us go back to Matthew Chapters 5 thru 7 and look at them in a different light. This was in a sense quiet time for Jesus to take a nice break from the crowds and spend some quality time with his disciples. I am not going to get all in-depth with you on each topic he brought up and taught them on. That will be for another day and time.

   If you start looking at them you see what type of disciples that Jesus wanted them to be. Matthew 5:3-12 Jesus is teaching them of the spiritual walk they would be going on. Matthew 5:13-26 covers taking the gospel to others, the importance of the law and controlling our feelings especially anger. Matthew 5:27-48 deals with relationships, oaths and revenge and showing love to those that we would consider enemies. So Chapter 5 summons up one’s personal and physical life.

   Chapter 6:1-34 Jesus is now taking the lesson to a more spiritual level with tithes, prayer, fasting and where we should be placing our treasure. Jesus knowing what they would be facing wanted them to begin focusing on the Kingdom and the hope there of and less on this life in which we are living now. Even though we have a tendency to see only what is in front of us, he wanted his disciples to see farther into the future.

   Then finally in Chapter 7 we see Jesus is summing up what he has been saying with a few more words of wisdom. Not to judge to quickly, but to use the same standard in which you would use on oneself. Be mindful of the fruit of those that profess to be followers of God. Last but not least is that we must build a good foundation for there will be storms in our lives that will put our faith to the test.

   We need to see and focus on what Jesus had laid out here not as some wonderful speech, but the blueprints for becoming a disciple of his.