The Sermon on the Mount
Text: The Gospel of Matthew Chapters Five, Six, & Seven
Setting: Somewhere just outside the city of Capernaum.
Jesus and his disciples are being followed by a great multitude of people who have witnessed the healing power of the Messiah. Jesus leaves the road and ascends a hill. It is there that his most famous lecture takes place. He has chosen an ‘open-classroom’ venue with enough room for his students (the disciples) and the vast crowd of people to hear him speak.
- What do you think would be the most important topics Jesus would start with?
- Wouldn’t you expect, that, whatever Jesus taught, would be the foundation of everything that is doctrinally important, good for us, and glorifying to God?
- We know that Jesus came to his own people, so in this setting, he is addressing ‘the churched’ and since that is the case, would not this be the logical starting point for all the churches—of all ages—to consider?
- The author reveals in Chapter 1:21 that Jesus was born to: “save His people from their sins.” Does Jesus do that only on the Cross or is he also doing that in his teaching?
- In Chapter 2:6 Jesus is portrayed as a king and a shepherd. Is that how we should consider ‘where he is coming from’ when he starts talking?
- Chapter Two also has the Magi worshipping Jesus. Will worship be an essential response to Jesus and an important motivation in applying his teaching?
- Chapter 3:1-3 portrays Jesus coming as ruler of the universe and that his kingdom is at hand. Should we not consider this as the context of the Sermon on the Mount?
- Also in Chapter Three, John the Baptist says that we should repent and, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.” So, putting ourselves in the sandals of the disciples, what are we to do with the points that Jesus will make?
- In Chapter Four Jesus was led by the Spirit into a place of severe testing. Is this event just an extraneous addition to the narrative or will it play into Jesus’ inaugural address?
- Again, in Chapter Four, the ministry of Jesus is characterized by a prophecy from Isaiah: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.” So, should we consider the disciples (and ourselves) as those who have been under darkness and that the information that they will be getting from Jesus is divine illumination?
- Also in Chapter Four the call of the disciples includes the promise that Jesus will make them fishers of men. How is that promise kept in the Sermon on the Mount?
- Chapter Four ends with Jesus healing all types of diseases and releasing those who were demon possessed. This great crowd follows him into the setting of Chapter Five where he will begin to teach the future leaders of the church. Why is this important?
- The preaching of Jesus in Chapter Four includes the major tenets of John the Baptist’s ministry: Repentance & Kingdom. Should we then expect those topics to continue to pervade Jesus’ teaching throughout the Sermon on the Mount?