“Jesus saw the crowds and went up a hill, where he sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them…”
— Matthew 5:1-2 (GNT)
Matthew’s Gospel is not arranged in chronological order. The many miracles Jesus performed in Galilee accounted for His immense popularity. Jesus was known for preaching on the side of a mountain it gave Him an opportunity to speak to large crowds and be heard. Matthew writes that Jesus’ disciples came to Him and he began to teach them.
Can you imagine sitting at the feet of Jesus? Some think that those closest to Him gained popularity by following Jesus. Some could have felt it was a time to make money and to gain prestige along with power. However, Jesus told them that instead of fame and fortune, they could expect mourning, hunger, and persecution. There were large crowds following Jesus during this time.
He was the talk of the town! Jesus preached throughout Galilee, and during his preaching mission He healed several: An official’s son in Cana (John 4:46:54), Peter’s mother-in-law, many others in Capernaum (Matt 8:14-17), a man with leprosy (Matt 8:1-4), and a paralyzed man in Capernaum (Matt 9:1-8).
Today, hearing God’s Word brings about a change in our heart, life, deliverance, and healing. People who want to live for God must be ready to say yes to God and no to the world. Christians must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. Putting aside our selfish interest that we may serve others, we will one day receive what God has in store for us. We will find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness; we must follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
The song Blessed Assurance reminds me of what my Savior has done for us:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
If you have not accepted Jesus in your heart, I encourage you to do so today. Give yourself a new birthday and accept Jesus in your heart today.
This column is the opinion of Rev. Gracie Jackson of Grace Community AME Mission in Eagle River.