“When [Jesus] saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying…” (Matthew 5:1-2)
Jesus was often surrounded by crowds, but they were not His main priority. His disciples were. Jesus was often followed by crowds, but they weren’t the ones following Him in ways that mattered. His disciples were.
Jesus cared about the crowds, but He was committed to His disciples, and as a response to that commitment, He called them to a commitment, too. He called them to actually be committed to not just listening to His teaching, but to living it out every day.
In fact, even today it’s that very commitment that stands as the dividing line between those who are truly disciples of Jesus and those who are merely part of the crowd.
The Sermon on the Mount is not a sell-job to the bystanders, the thrill-seekers and the curious. It’s a manifesto for the true believers, those who have gone all in with Jesus. The truths Jesus shares are a way of identifying who is really a disciple and who is not, not by measuring how perfectly we follow it all, but by how genuinely committed we are to trying.
So, about that commitment line… Which side are you living on today?