The image above is somewhat iconic; the lone fish swimming against the school of other fish. It’s a feeling we’ve all likely had at one time or another. Rather than going along with the crowd, we’ve found ourselves with different motivations, different priorities, and on a different path.
And for believers, it’s a different Lord
When Jesus called Simon the fisherman, he left his boats and nets and followed him. When Jesus called Levi the tax collector, he left his tax collecting booth and followed him. Their lives took a sudden turn in direction and definition. They would no longer be known for the things they had formerly done. So, we shouldn’t be surprised when answering the call to follow Jesus means going in a different direction than the crowd around us.
Jesus calls us to different
In Luke 6, Jesus moves from call to counsel. A great crowd is now following him, so he gives them what any great crowd wants–a sermon!
What is this different life going to look like? How is a follower of Jesus to view the world around them? Who do we consider blessed? When the whole world calls for judgment and condemnation, how do we swim against the tide? None of Jesus’ answers are easy, but every one of them is necessary if we’re going to be the people he’s called us to be.
The Sermon on the Level Place
We are more familiar with Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount than we are with Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. Whereas in Matthew, Jesus takes a seat on a mountain, above his listeners, in Luke, he stands in their midst. In Luke, no one has a spot above anyone else. No one is closer to God. Everyone starts on a level place.
Before we launch into the sermon itself, we begin at the beginning and the end. To whom is Jesus speaking? What is his ultimate aim with this message? What is this life to which he is calling us?