Sermon on the Mount (Part 1)
49 total verses: Matthew 5:1-42; Luke 6:20-26
Brief description of action taking place or point being made
61. Jesus ascends to address the multitude in Matthew 5:1
62a. Beatitudes in Matthew 5:2-12; Luke 6:20-26
62b. Salt and light in Matthew 5:13-16
62c. Christ came to fulfill the Law in Matthew 5:17-20
62d. Anger in Matthew 5:21-26
62e. Lust in Matthew 5:27-30
62f. Divorce in Matthew 5:31-32
62g. Oaths in Matthew 5:33-37
62h. Retaliation in Matthew 5:38-42
1. What is your favorite verse or set of verses? Why?
2. Did you learn anything from the reading or find anything particularly cool? What?
3. Was there anything unclear in the passage that you have questions about? What are they?
Specific questions on this passage
1. Matthew 5:2-12 differs from Luke 6:20-26 in a number of significant ways. Can you name a few? One of them is that Luke refers to the poor (and later the rich), while Matthew refers to the “poor in spirit”. Are these the same thing? If not, how can you reconcile them being in the same description of the same event?
After Completing the Bible Reading
Broader outline of each section of passage
Matthew 5:1. Jesus went up on the mountain to address the crowds who came to him.
Matthew 5:2-12; Luke 6:20-26. Jesus speaks blessings over people for exhibiting different traits. In Luke, he also speaks curses. There are more blessing in Matthew than in Luke, which is probably an abbreviated version (except for the curses, which are not included in Matthew). Even in describing what the blessings are for, Luke is brief, while Matthew appears to be more descriptive. Nonetheless, one can learn much about the kind of life Jesus wants each of us to lead if we deeply reflect on each pronouncement.
Matthew 5:13-16. This passage compares us to salt and light. Salt is to flavor and preserve meat. Light is to transform darkness. Both of these things challenge us to not blend in, but to stand out, because in the standing out, blessing comes.
Matthew 5:17-20. Jesus came to fulfill all of the Law. He tells us that our righteousness must be greater than that of the religious leaders of the day.
Matthew 5:21-26. Jesus teaches on anger by starting with the proscription against murder, and then challenging people not just to stay under control externally, but to deal with internal issues as well, such as anger.
Matthew 5:27-30. Jesus extends the prohibition against adultery by challenging people to keep their hearts under control and not even lust. And then Jesus challenges people to make large sacrifices (cut off one’s hand or pluck out one’s eye, metaphorically), if necessary, to live holy lives.
Matthew 5:31-32. Jesus said that it used to be okay to get a divorce if you followed the right procedures, but that no longer is divorce acceptable, except for the case of infidelity. He said divorced and remarried people are committing adultery under other conditions.
Matthew 5:33-37. Jesus tells people to be truthful always, and not have different levels of truths, one with an oath, and one without it.
Matthew 5:38-42. Jesus speaks against revenge, but rather cooperate with those who would hurt you or take advantage of you.
My favorite passage and other random thoughts
Matthew 5:3 is my favorite from this day’s reading. It says, “‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'” (ESV). In wrestling with what this is referring to, I decided that the poor in spirit are those that don’t depend on their own abilities but rather rely on God. An Old Testament passage that affirms this idea is Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” For those who depend on God, whatever they do will reveal the kingdom of heaven, rather than their own strength and wealth and abilities.