On the Move
Jesus conducted His earthly ministry in two ways.
The bulk of His time was spent traveling around Galilee and Judea with a band of disciples, interacting with anyone He happened to meet. His daily schedule (described in Mark 1) involved preaching the gospel, teaching the truth, casting out demons, and healing the sick.
This part of Jesus’ ministry was spontaneous, continual, pastoral, interactive, and general.
He simply met people right where they were and acted on their behalf. On one occasion, Jesus was entering a city called Nain, just as a funeral procession was leaving the city. Jesus was moved with compassion, and, without being asked to, He walked up to the widow and raised her son from the dead. No announcement of the kingdom of God was made. He didn’t call her to leave all and follow Him. It was a one-directional interaction, a display of mercy. God for man.
Many of the people Jesus helped this way, didn’t follow Him or take up His cause. Luke’s story of the ten lepers shows that after being healed by Jesus, some didn’t even return to thank Him.
On the Mountain
However, there was another aspect of Jesus’ ministry, which can be identified geographically in Matthew’s Gospel. Periodically throughout His ministry, Jesus brought His disciples up to a mountain. These can be considered the Lord’s conferences. They were given to the disciples, not to the crowds.
This part of Jesus’ ministry was strategic, occasional, missional, directive, and particular
On the mountain top, Jesus’ ministry took on another emphasis. The sermon on the Mount, the transfiguration, the signs of His return, and the great commission were all given on a mountain.
The only people who followed Jesus up to the mountain were disciples. Jesus intentionally got away from the crowds to teach disciples how to continue his mission.
When He saw the crowds, He went up to the mountain. And after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. (Matthew 5:1)
On the mountain Jesus revealed major truths. If you were a casual follower and never climbed the mountain for these special events, you missed whole vistas of revelation. You missed major opportunities to experience things that would change your life.
This is the sort of thing that happens at Christian conferences. And this apparently wasn’t lost on the Lord. He purposely got away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind with its incessant demands and distractions. This was not business as usual.
Of the thousands of people Jesus helped during His life, only 120 continued His mission after He died (Acts 1:15). Most likely they had climbed the mountain with Him before.
Years later, Peter recounted one of these mountain top experiences. He said that he became an “eyewitness of that One’s majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). Yes, you can always get the audio later, see the pictures online, and catch the best quotes on Twitter, but you won’t experience the life-changing impact of being an eyewitness. There’s something about being there that changes you.
Join the Move
Attending Christian conferences gives the Lord an opportunity to do something special in your life, appear to you in an unprecedented way, and call you into direct participation in His purpose.
Don’t miss the next one.