Reflection: Perhaps this is an odd couple of verses for us to hover over and ponder. But I want us to notice something Matthew is trying to do, before he lets us hear the first words of the Messiah in the Sermon on the Mount (I promise we’ll get there soon!). We’ve been told of the enormous crowd that has flocked to hear the Lord (“from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, etc”). Now in 5:1-2 Matthew offers the grammatical equivalent of a ‘drum roll’. He uses seven separate verbs in one sentence to introduce Jesus’ words. (Our English Bibles tidy it up a bit by putting it into two sentences and only translating six verbs). But Matthew literally writes: “seeing the crowds, he ascended the mountain, and sitting down his disciples came to him, and so opening his mouth, he taught them, saying …” That is a very striking sentence, in Greek and English, and the effect of it is to … slow … things … down … so that we feel the drama of hearing from God’s Son the Messiah, and so that we concentrate on His first words.
Question: Have we perhaps become too accustomed to the teachings of Jesus, so that we miss their unique content and power? What can we do to correct that?