By Diane Virginia
“And seeing the multitudes, he [Jesus] went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, saying, Blessed….” Matthew 5:1-3a
One little word–“up”–could so easily be overlooked as we read The Sermon on the Mount. But if we notice it, we will understand the reason for Jesus’ success in ministry. He knew that He needed to go up. In fact, He felt compelled to go up, believing His ascent was a prerequisite to meeting the spiritual needs of the people.
Up, up, up! Jesus climbed the mountain, traversing sharp boulders, seeking the highest point, even when it meant searching for handholds and footholds in the steep cliff faces. He traveled with focus and determination. It was a solitary climb; even though the three most faithful Disciples would have accompanied Him. What was the purpose for His climb? Even Jesus knew He needed the solitude of this prayer retreat in order to clearly discern the voice of His Father.
When He was sure of Father God’s will, He descended to an accessible area of the mountain and taught His disciples. In this mountaintop retreat, Jesus prepared the Twelve to minister. For how long they tarried we do not know, but Christ’s seated position indicates no one was in a hurry. They listened to Jesus’ teachings. They prepared, prayed, worshiped, and looked up, allowing the anointing dew of heaven to descend upon their souls. As a result of this ascent, peace reigned.
Jesus and His Disciples, equipped with power from on high, then descended into the Galilean valley below the mountain. There, Jesus preached to the multitudes the same message [Luke 6:17-49] He had taught the Disciples. Then they ministered with compassion and conviction.
The Sermon on the Mount is still reaching us today. Within it Jesus declared kingdom principles that allowed humanity to live the blessed life. Why are these words still making an impact? It is because they originated when the Savior acknowledged a single word that has a dynamic impact: it is the word, up.
When we pursue the presence of God in the solitude of prayer, tarrying with our Savior there, we position ourselves for greatness. Only then do we have insight to share.