Jesus on the Mountains

NAHUM 1:15

Behold, on the mountains
The feet of him who brings good tidings,
Who proclaims peace!

Often amidst the Books of the Prophets in the Old Testament one finds little sparkling gems in the middle of passages that are otherwise hard to draw a relelvant meaning from. This little excerpt from the Book of Nahum seems to be a prophecy about Christ. The imagery is beautiful. Set your imagination free … picture in your mind a Palestinian mountain, low by international standards, and largely arid and rocky. A desolate place where the wind plays through boulders and the rubble and the few sparse bushes that survive here. A lonely place. A quiet place. A place where one can think or pray without distractions, where the mind and the spirit can find serenity…

This is the setting Jesus chose for a significant part of His ministry. I had no idea how significant until I did a quick Bible Search of the Gospels:

Matthew:

4:8 Temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:4)
5:2 Sermon on the Mount
14:8 Praying by Himself (Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12; John 6:15)
15:29 Healing multitudes and feeding 4,000
17:1 Transfiguration (Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28)
24:3 Outlining the End of the World (Mark 13:5)
26:30 Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:26; Luke 22:39)
28:16 The Great Commission after Resurrection.

Mark:

3:13 Appoints His Disciples
5:11 Exorcism at Gadarenes (Luke 8:32)

Luke:

19:37 Palm Sunday Triumphal Entry
21:37 Resting at the Mount of Olives (John 8:1)

John:

4:19 The Samaritan Woman
6:3 Feeding the 5,000

Acts:

1:12 Ascension

That’s 15 events in the life of Jesus about which the Evangelists saw fit to record that they occurred on a mountain. Clearly, Jesus was quite at home in the mountains, as He was of course at home in the heights of spirituality. That’s not counting the many references to Bethany, the place of His rest, which was on a mountain, or Golgotha, the Hill of the Skull.

Why a mountain? From a mountain, you get the big picture. You feel that you are above the petty events of the plain that look so small and insignificant. The dangers of the plain are far beneath you and you do not need to worry about them. You have the sense of ascending, of striving for a pinnacle … all these are quite conducive to our own spiritual journey and our attitude upon that journey, as we strive to scale the mountain to reach the pinnacle of His Presence, as He awaits us, there … at the top of the mountain.

Fr Ant

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One Reply to “Jesus on the Mountains”

  1. Psalm 11
    In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.
    If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
    Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.

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