Called Away

Sandy Zull

READ : Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them . . . (vv. 1-2)

Incredible intentionality! With an emotionally neutral, factual introduction we are sent straight to the heart of Jesus’ teaching. Falling on the heels of a rather hectic chapter 4, the shift into the who-what-when-where style of reporting sets the mood for the economy of words to follow. There is something Jesus wants the disciples to understand, and he wants us to understand it as well. When Jesus calls us away he means business.

Apparently, at the mere sight of the crowd Jesus took off in the opposite direction—uphill. How might the disciples have assessed this strategy given their understanding of their calling and mission at that time? We don’t know. When the disciples follow, Jesus sits, assuming the position of rabbi, and speaks. Do they get it? We don’t know. When Jesus calls us away to teach us, what we get is rarely what we thought we needed.

Jesus takes strange paths, defies our best understanding of common sense, and draws us persistently away to himself and his word. But none of this is accidental. Jesus is extraordinarily intentional in both his actions and his words.


Thank you, Jesus, for telling us what we need to hear instead of what we think we need.