Jesus had been going from town to town in Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and healing the sick. Word traveled fast and crowds would gather. One day, when he saw the crowd gathering, he went to a mountainside, sat down and began to teach.
His disciples were with Him and listened along with the masses. The account is a quote from beginning to end, not a report. Matthew, inspired and directed by God, gave his account.
Why it matters
The Bible is a handbook for the human condition, and in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks to the human condition. It was a message for all people, regardless of their walk of life, in all places and for all times.
The sermon brings out the differences between the strict legalism of the Jewish tradition, and the new way of faith and trust in God. God as our Father is highlighted by His sermon.
Jesus knew that he would someday be sacrificed, making this message even more poignant. His gentle, loving invitation for people to come to God is in direct contrast to the harshness of Jewish law.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Why it matters to you
The Sermon on the Mount is about the ethics of the Kingdom, as Jesus talks of purity of heart and the standards of righteousness before God. We are taught the “Lord’s Prayer” in this dissertation and Jesus teaches about God’s Law. It is a gentle, but very clear illustration of God’s expectations.
Jesus tells the people that he has not come to abolish the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. He added that until heaven and earth are gone, every letter of the law is in place. Jesus gives an invitation to ask God and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.
Those who seek God will find Him, but it is an individual journey. Each person has their own, unique relationship to God.
The main thrust of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was to herald the Kingdom of God. Jesus offers eight blessings, known as the Beatitudes, which are later chronicled in the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus talks of his fulfilling the Law, which is essential to man’s chances of being in God’s Kingdom. Man cannot, by his sinful nature, fulfill the Law. Therefore, God had to do it.
Just as God had supplied the sacrifice to Abraham and spared Isaac, God spared man and sacrificed His son. He talks of social issues, such as murder, divorce, taking oaths, caring for the needy, loving your enemies, not judging others.
What you may not know
The writer of this Gospel, Matthew, was writing to Jews, as evidenced by his references to Jewish Law and his using the term “Kingdom of God.” As a tax collector, Matthew was given a quota to collect for the Romans. Anything above that quota was his to keep.
The irony is apparent, as this beautiful Sermon on the Mount is shared by a Jewish outcast, one who was hated by society. Matthew is writing to prove to Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.