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When I read through Luke’s introduction to the Sermon on the Mount as he records it, I think that there are a wide variety of people present there to hear what Jesus taught. Without toomuch effort, we could probably find people to fit nearly every category which MacDonald has identified for us. Jesus would, of course, be the “very resourceful person.” The twelve disciples might bethe “very important people.” The larger group of disciples might contain “very trainable people.” The large crowd would probably have some “very nice people” and some “very draining people.” I have tothink that there is another category which must be added, too, the “very nasty people,” made up of those whose life’s calling seems to be to harass and trouble us. The Pharisees would certainly fallinto this category.
The puzzling thing to me is that most of the categories of persons are simply lumped together to some degree by the term “disciple. “We would use the term primarily for the twelvewhom Jesus here designates as His apostles (v. 13). The group of those from whom the twelve were selected are called “disciples” (v. 13). I would take it that it was from this group that the 70, whowere later sent out by Jesus (Luke 10:1ff.) were drawn. Then, there was the large group of “disciples” who awaited Jesus and His “disciples” as they came down from the mountain (v. 17). In addition,there was the “great throng of people” (v. 17) who came to hear Jesus and for healing.
A number of dispensational scholars have taken the position the Sermon on the Mount was the “constitution of theMillennial Kingdom,” and thus it does not directly apply to the church today. I disagree. It would seem to me that from Luke’s account at least we must conclude that the subject of the sermon (atleast verses 20-26) is discipleship. Those to whom the sermon was addressed are the disciples (v. 20a). Our text not only helps to define what discipleship is all about, it also has much to say about...