By Anonymous Nazarene Saints.
© Copyright 1998.
All Rights Reserved.
(or, "The Sermon on the Mount") [35 PRINTED PAGES]
This most famous of all spiritual teachings is often called The Sermon on the Mount because of the location mentioned in Mt 5.1, 2. The sermon is about 2,000 words. (The account in Luke 6.20-49 is called the Sermon on the Plain by Barclay and there are some differences which cause some to feel Lukes account is a similar sermon on another occasion. These verses in Matthew make a separation between the "crowds" and "his disciples." There are some subtle uses of the plural and singlular "you" provided by the Greek translator (possibly Matthew) which deserve note. It is the longest single sermon by Jesus the Nazarene with John chapters 13-17 and Matthew chapters 24 and 25 nearly as long.
In the early portion of the Mountain Teachings the Nazarene speaks the brief phrase, I came. Much is packed into these words. It is an inference Jesus was sent from God, something he goes on to state in many different ways. Here is a Man who came from the "Realms Above" (Jn 8.23) and enjoyed the Presence of his Father for past eons. (Jn 17.5) He admits on more than one occasion what he taught was not his own but came from the Father who sent him. (Jn 5.19; 6.46, 63; 7.17)
With this background now, we see the Nazarene waiting for the crowd on the mountain side to quiet as he prepares to utter his first public words in a full sermon. He is a perfect human with all the powers of language and vocabulary at his command. We hold our breath. What is he to say? What will be his theme? What subjects will he consider? What subjects will he omit? Will he describe God and the heavenly realms? Will he lay out religious forms that will lead to the establishment of a High Church?
The Nazarenes first words are revolutionary! "Blessed are the Poor, for the Celestial Realm is yours. How that crowd must have stirred and then smiled, for that is what they were, poor. In one word what is his key topic? "Love." The Nazarene makes the most famous summary of the Mosaic Law: Love your neighbor. But, he goes beyond this to, Love your enemies. With every possibility before him, Jesus tells us what the Father wants of us. How are we to show this "love of neighbor and enemy"? That is what the Mountain Teachings are about. God bless!
THE NAZARENE MOUNTAIN TEACHINGS: