October 01, 2021

A Face in the Crowd

Matthew 4:23-5:2

[Jesus’] disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

—  Matthew 5:1-2

Jesus taught and healed people as he traveled through several regions, and even early in his ministry he was followed by large crowds. Sometimes he needed a break from all that, and he just wanted to teach his disciples, his closest followers. But soon the crowds would build up around him again.

As he begins his Sermon on the Mount, recorded for us in Matthew 5-7, Jesus is teaching his closest disciples. But by the end of chapter 7, it seems a large crowd has formed around Jesus again, eager to listen in.

Today, 2,000 years later, there is still a crowd around Jesus. People study him as a teacher and philosopher. They are curious about his ideas and they connect with many of his teachings, and yet many of these people remain on the outer edge, unable to accept his claim to be the Son of God.

Where do you find yourself as you listen to Jesus today? Are you one of his close, committed disciples? Have you been moving away from God lately? Are you on the edge of the crowd, simply curious—or exploring the ideas of faith?

No matter where you find yourself, Jesus’ words are for you. He invites us into the blessings of living in obedience to God. This is not always comfortable or easy. But Jesus shows us how we are created to live. May we all embrace his words for the truth they contain.

Father, help me to open my mind and heart to the teachings of Jesus. Show me what I need to learn, and how I can draw near to you. Amen.

About the author — A.J. Gretz

Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Gretz is a pastor in Grandville, Michigan. He has also served churches in Ohio and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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