My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Matthew 5

A Sermon presented from a Mount

Jesus began to teach on a mountain.

"All the weak and downtrodden and honest people will be blessed. All blessed people will be persecuted. You are salt and light. Show your light and don't lose your saltiness. I have come to fulfill the law, not abolish it! You must be more righteous than your leaders.
You know not to murder, but don't even hate. Settle your differences quickly. Offerings to God are pointless if you have unresolved issues with your friends.
You know not to sleep with other women, but don't even lust.
You know not to separate without divorce papers, but don't divorce at all.
You know not to break oaths, but don't make oaths in the first place.
You know not to take unfitting revenge, but don't take revenge at all. Just give love.
You know to love your friends, but love your enemies too. Be perfect, just like God.

Key verses:
16. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
17. Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

My thoughts:
This whole chapter is pretty darn famous. Heck, now we're in the New Testament, everything is well known. Choosing key verses is going to get difficult.

So here we have the Sermon on the Mount, starting with the Beatitudes. Jesus then goes onto his main point for the chapter, that he agrees with the law of Moses. He then backs this up with statements which start from Moses' law, but which go further. He is not against Moses' law, but recommends going against it. Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees.

So what is Jesus at this stage? He is a healer and a teacher. He has somewhat radical teaching beyond that of the Old Covenant.

So many little things to talk about, but I have to say that if you are a follower of Jesus, then you really have to take passages like these seriously. Jesus says that you basically cannot divorce unless you wife sleeps with someone else. How many Christian divorces are invalidated by this? Very many, I should think. Jesus doesn't teach easy things. Being a follower of Jesus is a big ask and a counter-cultural one, often even if your culture is very churched.


Anonymous Mark said...

1) The Sermon on the Mount doesn't read very coherently. It's all over the place. So I think Matthew cobbled together a whole lot of bits of Jesus' sermons into one big one.

2) It feels weird reading the New Testament now. Probably cos it's such well-trodden ground compared to the Minor Prophets.

3) As you pointed out, v32 is pretty black and white. Funny how that's just been ignored by many Christians (usually those who trumpet the few "anti-gay" Bible verses the loudest...).

4) Check out this post on my blog.

10:32 pm

Blogger Pete W said...


1) Yea probably true. See Luke. I'm not sure if the text is seriously suggesting that this was one big transcribed speech

2) The prophets do put forward some 'New Testament' ideas in relation to lifestyle over ritual etc. But I still think there is a lot of new stuff in the New Testament. Or it's just much clearer and more concentrated.

3) Oh yea. For me this is a typical example of 'Biblical' Christians following church status quo rather than the Bible. If you truly follow the Bible, then Christians are unlikely to like you.

4) Done and hilarious

11:14 am


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