Summary: Jesus makes himself known thorugh the power of his teaching.
Title: A Teacher with a Twist
Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Thesis: Jesus makes himself known through the power of his teaching.
Epiphany Series: Encountering Christ in Epiphany
• The First Sunday after Epiphany: Christ’s Identity. The First Sunday after Epiphany we encountered Christ at his baptism where God reveals to Jesus and to us who He (Jesus) is. “This is my Son, whom I love, and with whom I am very pleased.” Matthew 3:17
• The Second Sunday after Epiphany: Christ’s Power. The Second Sunday after Epiphany we encounter Christ at a wedding where he performed the first of many miracles that would follow. “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him.” John 2:13
• The Third Sunday after Epiphany: Christ’s Leadership. On the Third Sunday after Epiphany we encountered Christ walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee where he saw fishermen going about their business of fishing. So, he called out to them. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:12-23
• The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Christ’s Authority. On the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany we encounter Christ seated on a mountainside with his teaching disciples. “Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying…”
One of the more catchy commercials on television is the Snapple commercial in which they discover new and better stuff. Watch it with me.
Project Clip: Snapple’s New and Better Stuff Commercial
In our story today, Jesus is announcing that he has new and better stuff. It is not that the old stuff was not good stuff because it was good stuff. But he has new stuff. He has better stuff. And what we call the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 through 7 is the new and better stuff he has come to teach.
As we look at our text today we see that Jesus was prompted to begin teaching this new and better stuff when he saw the crowds of people who were following him.
I. Jesus saw
Now when he saw the crowds… Matthew 5:1
(And from a parallel passage in Luke…)
He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over… had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Luke 6:17-18
One of Colorado’s most popular attractions is the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. The pool is kept at around 93 degrees F and the therapy pool is around 104 degrees F. They say that for thousands of years this mineral rich water has created legends of healing and relaxation. Folks with achy joints can find relief by simply soaking in the healing waters of Glenwood Hot Springs.
In my devotional reading this week, one of the stories I read was of an occasion when Jesus visited the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. The Pool of Bethesda was one of those healing places. Apparently on occasion an angel would come down and stir the waters and when the waters were stirred those in need of healing would get into the pool and be healed. So the place was a popular hangout for the sick in Jesus’ day.
When Jesus visited the pool he would have seen a large number of sick people lying around waiting for the water to stir. But the story says Jesus saw a man who was an invalid lying by the pool and he approached the man and asked him if he would like to get well.
So, while there were evidently a large number of sick people lying around, Jesus could still see the individual.
The question is not only, what did Jesus see? It is also, how did Jesus see?
One of the more recognizable statements in the Gospels is, “When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
So if this morning we ask the question: What is God doing in the text? We would answer, “God sees both the crowds and the individuals within the crowds. God sees.” And then if we were to ask the question: Is there any good news in the text? We would answer, “Yes, there is good news. When God sees people he is compassionate and kindly disposed toward them.” In other words, God sees and God cares.
In December Bonnie and I attended a wedding. Afterward, the reception dinner was held at the Broker in downtown Denver. Coincidently, the reception was on the same night as the Parade of Lights and The Broker was on the parade route. The onlookers were literally packed curb and sidewalk deep. I was not moved with compassion when I saw the crowd. When we began to force our way through the crowd we found that if we hugged the building we could muscle our way inch by inch through the parade watchers…. that is until we discovered that there were people inching their way from the opposite direction. Still no compassion!