The Mount of Beatitudes is one of the many hills that rise up around the Sea of Galilee. It was here that Jesus preached His famous “Sermon on the Mount,” blessing thousands of people who had gathered to hear Him speak. But why is it called the Mount of “Beatitudes,” and what else did Jesus do on this hill for those who gathered here? Take a look at the short video below to hear more and to get a view of the mountain itself. Then read on to see how Jesus can bless you today—and how you can be a blessing to Him!
So what happened on the Mount of Beatitudes? “Beatitude” means “blessing,” and this is where Jesus spoke about the many blessings that God offers to those who believe in Him, such as:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled…” (Matthew 5:3-6).
This is also where Jesus demonstrated His blessings to the crowd by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish into a feast that fed five thousand. The Bible says:
“Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand” (Mark 6:39-44).
It’s a remarkable story, and Jesus still does similar things today. I’ve written about one such story that happened to me recently on our trip to Israel—and even culminated for me at the very spot where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes. (I’ve included this story at the end of this book, in the concluding chapter called “Making A Chance.”)
But as practical as Jesus’ teachings are, and as remarkable as His ability to multiply loaves and fish is, Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes a step farther and offers us more: an abundant life in Him. But sometimes we’re the ones who shortchange what Jesus has to offer us.
I heard a story about a boy who went to his uncle’s farm every summer for a few days. When the boy would arrive, his uncle would greet him with pockets full of nickels jingling at his sides. After a few minutes of talking with each other, the uncle reached into his pocket and handed his nephew a nickel.
Throughout the next few days, the uncle did the same thing over and over, spending a few minutes talking with the boy, then handing him a nickel; doing a chore or two, then handing the boy a nickel; taking a walk down the road together then handing the boy a nickel. By the end of those few days, the uncle’s pockets were empty and the boy’s pockets were full.
The next summer, the same thing happened. The uncle began with his pockets jangling with nickels and at the end of their time together, the boy’s pockets were full of nickels.
After a few summers, the boy got an idea. The next time he visited his uncle at the farm, he was again greeted by his uncle with his pockets full of nickels. The boy said: “Every summer by the end of my time with you, you always give me all the nickels in your pocket. So I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you just give me all the nickels right now, then I can go do what I want, and you can go do what you want without me around to bother you!”
Although the boy’s idea had merit at one level, it missed the point entirely at another. The reason the uncle gave the boy the nickels in the first place was because he loved spending as much time with the boy as he could. The uncle wanted to be with his nephew, and their time together always turned out to be precious to them both.
You can almost see this boy’s idea start to crop up in the hearts of the people who followed Jesus. The day after Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes, more boats arrived at the place where the miracle had occurred, but Jesus was no longer there. The Bible says:
Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor His disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:24-27a).
Jesus went on to remind them that God is eager to provide for their daily needs just as He provided bread from heaven—in the form of manna—every day for forty years while the Israelites wandered through the desert. But then Jesus added:
“I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:48-51a).
While Jesus is glad to give you practical advice for living, like He did in the Sermon on the Mount, He wants to give you more. And while He’s glad to meet your daily needs, as He did for those who ate the feast on the hillside, He wants to give you more.
Jesus wants to give you a relationship with Him, the living bread that came down from heaven. He doesn’t want to just give you money for the trip, He wants to be your companion along the journey. He doesn’t want to just give you a roadmap to where you’re going, He wants to go with you and guide you there Himself. Your relationship with Jesus takes precedence over everything He could ever teach you, or give you, in a lifetime.
I want to encourage you today: come to Jesus for His teachings, for they can change your life; and come to Him for your daily bread, for He’s still a God who can provide for all your needs with baskets full left over.
But don’t stop there. Don’t shortchange all that God wants to do for you today. Come to Him for life, and life abundant. Come to Him for a feast that never ends—eternal life with Him, a life that starts here on earth and goes on forever. As Jesus told those on the hillside:
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty….If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:35,51b).
Father, thank You for blessing us with Your life and Your words. Help us to look to You for our daily bread, but not to stop there. Help us to look to You for bread that will last forever, bread that comes only through an ongoing relationship with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.