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Notes 8 - Teachings of Jesus - Sermon on the Mount - A6

Notes 8 - Teachings of Jesus - Sermon on the Mount - A6 -...

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Teachings of Jesus – The Sermon on the Mount The first several months of Jesus’ ministry were known as a period of obscurity when he was not very widely known. However, with some of the miracles and other occurrences, Jesus was quickly catapulted into a period when he enjoyed a great deal of public favor. Within this period, which lasts for about two years, Jesus delivers most of his parables and other discourses. Before viewing some parables, we will look at some of the most familiar and lengthy teaching in the Bible – the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). There is parallel material in Luke in the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6 and 11). Both of these take place after a series of healings (Matt. 4:24-25; Luke 6:17-19) and show how quickly Jesus has risen in popularity. We will look at the Matthean material, the most highly concentrated section of moral and ethical material in the entire NT. In Matthew 5:1 Jesus is on a mountain or hillside. Matthew always records that Jesus is on a hillside or mountain when teaching crowds. This reminds the Jewish/Jewish Christian readers that Jesus is superior to Moses and the Torah. Moses went on the mountain to get authority and the Law, but Jesus goes on the mountain to give the law because he already has the authority. Jesus gathers his disciples around and begins to teach them. He is shrewd and knows much about human nature. By teaching initially to the disciples, yet speaking loudly enough for the crowds to hear, Jesus knows that the crowds will pay close attention. They feel like they are getting in on some “secret” as they “overhear” this teaching. We all like to think that we are hearing something we are not supposed to hear. By starting as he did, Jesus catches and holds the attention of the people. He can then rise and speak to the entire group later without “losing their attention”. Jesus begins with something we call the Beatitudes. These give us an indication of what God expects in the spiritual and physical lives of his people. Jesus talks about blessings. The word that we translate “blessed” is in the plural form, indicating that these followers will receive many blessings. They are those who are blessed and happy in God’s sight. They are the ones who understand that religion and ethics cannot be separated. We will list and briefly talk about each of these. Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of the heavens: The poor in spirit are those who feel a sense of spiritual poverty. They don’t believe that they “measure up” to God’s expectation in their spiritual lives. They have their priorities in place and, working with God, will inherit the kingdom of God. By the way, Matthew always uses the plural for heaven. This betrays a Jewish belief that God is over all of the universe (heavens).
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