Roc Homily (a) – 4th SUN ORD (A) 2017
Sermon on the Mount: Who made up the crowd Jesus saw before going up the mountain? Wounded people came to him then drawn by the promise of healing.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. (Mt. 4:23ff)
What might Matthew signify by telling us Jesus went up the mountain?
Matthew 5:1 “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him…”
- Like Moses, Jesus ascended the mountain. God gave Moses the ten commands. Moses destroyed the stone tablets in a fury, having seen the people idolizing the golden calf. He went back up to get two more tablets…
- So, on the one hand, the mountain is the mountain of God from which instruction goes forth to the people.
- On the other hand, the mountain also represents (in the prophetic writings) the place of temptation, idolatry, ritual prostitution, and even child sacrifice.
- Thus, Jesus claimed the high ground by teaching those who strayed. He sat there in the midst of the symbol of human weaknesses.
Matthew 4:8f 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Genesis 22:2 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”
Deuteronomy 2 You must demolish completely all the places where the nations whom you are about to dispossess served their gods, on the mountain heights, on the hills, and under every leafy tree.
Nahum 3:18 18 Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles slumber. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them.
Zephaniah 3:11 11 On that day you shall not be put to shame because of all the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain.
Isaiah 65:6f 6 See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps 7 their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together, says the Lord; because they offered incense on the mountains and reviled me on the hills, I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions.
Jeremiah 3:6 6 The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and played the whore there?
Ezekiel 22:8f 8 You have despised my holy things, and profaned my sabbaths. 9 In you are those who slander to shed blood, those in you who eat upon the mountains, who commit lewdness in your midst.