Matthew 5.1 cont.
1 Then, seeing the crowds, He went up into the mountain; and sitting down, His disciples came to Him.
During my working life I have had various jobs, some of which required me to be on my feet most of the day, but mostly I have been in occupations that meant I had to sit down.
The experts tell us that it is not good for us to sit down for too long, and that it is essential that we ‘stretch our legs’ from time to time.
The ministry of Jesus would have meant that He had a mixture of either sitting or walking around.
On the occasion of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew explicitly tells us that Jesus sat down to teach the people.
It is not the custom in our society for those who are teaching to sit down to deliver what they have to say. There are some exceptions, such as instructors teaching pupils how to drive a vehicle etc. Lectures, political addresses, and preaching are delivered by someone standing at the front.
However, that was not the custom in the days of Jesus.
W Barclay informs us that when a Rabbi wanted to say something very important and profound he would sit down to do so. The action of sitting down gave his teaching extra importance and authority. Generally they would give their teaching to their followers whilst walking around.
It is interesting to see that when Jesus went into the synagogue at Nazareth He was given the scroll containing Isaiah 61.1-2, and He stood up to read it. However, when He had finished reading we read:
20 Rolling up the book and giving it back to the servant (officer), He sat down; and every eye in the synagogue was gazing at Him.
21 Now He began to say to them: “This is the day when, in your hearing, this Scripture has been fulfilled”.
Perhaps He stood initially out of His humility, but when He came to teach and explain Isaiah He sat down. This act would signify His claiming to be a Rabbi with something very important to say.
It is important for everyone who has received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to know that we have something profound to say about Him, and we must take advantage of this, whether we are sat down or standing up.