The “Sermon On The Mount” is found in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. It is the longest recorded sermon of Jesus, but we are not certain if this sermon was preached in one setting or if Matthew has pieced together different teachings of Jesus in order to make this sermon one unit. Either way, Jesus preaches this sermon.
TEACHER, PREACHER, HEALER
Matthew wants us to see Jesus as a Teacher, Preacher, and Healer. We see this in a number of ways: Matthew 4:23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming [preaching] the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people."
We will see Jesus teaching and preaching in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. Then we will see Jesus healing in Matthew 8 and 9.
Then we see Matthew stating Jesus’ ministry again in Matthew 9:35, "Jesus went though all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming [preaching] the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness."
Matthew bookends this section, by describing the ministry of Jesus (teaching, preaching, healing).
NOW IT’S OUR TURN
Then we have something amazing taking place in Matthew 10:1, "Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness." Jesus empowers his followers to do what he just did, to teach what he just taught, and to preach what he just preached.
Matthew presents Jesus to his audience and says, “This is Jesus. This is his teaching. This is what he preaches. These are his healings. Now you decide if you’re going to follow him.” We have the choice: obey or disobey.
Now when Jesus saw the crowd, he went up a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
TEACHER – STUDENT
When we hear this text about Jesus going up on a mountain, it is important to connect this with Moses. Matthew does a good job at presenting Jesus as a new Moses. This is important to see, because in the “Sermon On The Mount,” Jesus is a new teacher, teaching a new law, for a new people of God.
Jesus is a different teacher. We will see this especially in Matthew 5:21-48, because Jesus will say things like, “You have heard that it was said…but I say to you….” Jesus does and says things that no other prophet could get away with, because he is God.
If Jesus is the teacher, we are the students. If this is so, we ought to sit and listen. We need to read the bible as students. We must be humble in receiving what God says. Far too often, we approach the bible as experts, not as students. We come with our preconceived ideas of what the text says, therefore we don't learn anything, because we feel like we already know the answer.
My prayer for us, as we look at the “Sermon On The Mount,” is that we would look at these teachings with fresh eyes.
A NEW OBEDIENCE
Once we see these teachings with fresh eyes, we can begin to respond to the “Sermon On The Mount” differently. Our response to the sermon is to obey its teachings. Our responsibility is to look at these 1st century teachings and bring them into the 21st century. Essentially, Jesus provides a new way to live for his followers.
He gave us a new way to deal with our enemies, by loving them.
He gave us a new way to deal with money, by sharing it.
He gave us a new way to deal with judging others, by looking in the mirror.
This sermon that Jesus preaches will bring new understanding into light, if we read it with fresh eyes. My prayer is that we will understand the teachings of Jesus and be able to practice them in our daily lives. We are not able to follow these teachings if we don't understand them.
The great author Mark Twain once said, “it ain't those parts of the bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
Here’s to struggling with the "Sermon On The Mount" together.