Dr. Jim Mann
“When he 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, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:1–3, CSB)
In ancient times, mountains were often considered holy places where heaven and earth meet … where deities lived … where the gods issued their decrees and cosmic forces did battle.
It was no surprise, then, that Moses went up Mount Sinai to meet God – amid fire, smoke, and earthquake – and came back down with the Law.
Mountains play an important role in Matthew’s Gospel, too. It was on a mountain that Jesus overcame Satan’s temptation (see Matt. 4:1-9). It was on a mountain that Jesus healed multitudes (Matt. 15:29-30), where he was transfigured (Matt. 17), where he spent time alone to pray (Matt. 14:22-23). It was on the Mount of Olives where Jesus prepared for his betrayal and crucifixion (Matt. 26:30).
Mountains are momentous, life-changing places in Matthew’s Gospel. They are places to meet God. They are places to conquer.
Just like Moses’ ascent of Mount Sinai many years before, Jesus also went up a mountain. He sat down (the posture of a teacher), and gave the most amazing sermon ever preached, The Sermon on the Mount.
In it, he would talk about the Law of God, but radically re-interpret it. He would tell his congregation that God isn’t after simple obedience, he is after our hearts. God doesn’t just want us to change our behavior, he wants a change of heart.
And just like that day many years before with Moses, the people met God…this time not with fire, smoke, and thunder, but in Jesus.
Consider the mountains you are facing in life right now. Maybe they are finances, health, or relationships. We see them as fearful, dangerous places…something impeding our progress.
But what if we change our perspective? What if, instead, we viewed those mountains in our lives as things to conquer? Sure, they are challenging places, but they are also places where we meet God, where we learn to rely on him. They are places to get to know him in new and exciting ways.
I’m praying for you as you conquer your mountain!
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.