The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is an extended section of Bible teaching by Jesus found in Matthew 5-7. It describes what a follower of Jesus should be like.


Some background

In the Old Testament, Moses went up a mountain and gave the rescued Israelites new laws to live by. The idea was that they now belonged to God so these were the new standards. 

Exodus 20

Exodus 20

Then, in the New Testament, Jesus does a very similar thing in Matthews Gospel:

Jesus defines how followers of his should live in the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus defines how followers of his should live in the Sermon on the Mount.


The Sermon (or message)

Here are some snippets from this passage of teaching that might be useful:

Chapter 5: 

  • Blessed are the peacemakers
  • Blessed are the merciful
  • Salt and light: being distinctive, flavour for society, stopping the rot
  • let your light shine: do good deeds
  • surpass standards: hatred/adultery are in the mind (much higher standard to follow than before) 
  • cut off hand/gouge out eye things that cause you to sin
  • Oaths: Yes is yes, no is no. Be truthful and honest.
  • Love your enemies - not revenge - just like God your father
  • Go two miles, give coat.
  • Be perfect like God. Do good.

Chapter 6:

  • no hypocrisy: public praise or private praise from God (prayer, giving, fasting)
  • treasure in Heaven - you can't seek God and money

Chapter 7:

  • Judging others: Speck/plank eye removal 
  • take the narrow (not wide) path
  • build on rock (not sand)
  • fruit will prove you are for real

"the crowds were amazed at his teaching… he had authority" 7v29


For reflection:

Jesus is defining a much higher standard for behaviour than the people had been used to. For example: they said you could think it as long as you didn't do it (e.g. hate is okay just don't murder, and lust is okay just don't get physical with someone). But now Jesus was saying that if you thought it, it was as good as doing it!

Why would someone bother attempting to keep these standards?