The Sermon on the Mount is the sermon that literally changed the world. Before Jesus came along no one had ever heard such words being given with such authority. Yes, the Pharisees and Sadducees spoke with authority, but no one could possibly keep the laws they made up to show their authority thought from God. But, when Jesus spoke, people listened intently, for He had the words of life and still does. For the people who heard it live and in person, the sermon was different than anything they had heard before. Coming from an Old Testament point of view they could only compare the things Jesus was saying to the laws of Moses. Ralph M. Riggs (1968) says that (Jesus) "is conscious of the fact that he is talking whose standard of living has been the Old Testament law. He proceeds then to relate His Gospel to the teachings of Moses. He then further declares that, unless people have a greater righteousness than that manifested by the scribes and Pharisees, they will not qualify as citizens of the kingdom of heaven" (p. 90-91). To His audience, Jesus knew that those with ears that hear would get and understand His message and their lives would be changed.
Meant for His disciples, Jesus allowed others around Him to hear His wonderful message, but also knew that it would be hard for those around Him to understand them apart from the Holy Spirit. But, still, this is what He came to earth to do to show us the right way to live in glory to God. Our God is a good God who wants everyone to hear His message, not just those He had chosen to. The Book of Luke: The Smart Guide of the Bible Series tells us, "Though Jesus was clearly showing his chosen disciples that they would be a people set apart from others, the crowd listened in/ Jesus gave a series of contrasts: blessings for some woes for others. What he said went against conventional wisdom it simply didn't make sense. Jesus showed seep compassion for the poor, the hungry, those who mourned, and those who were rejected. He offered them hope. In contrast, he did not offer hope to the wealthy, well-fed, the merrymakers, and those who compromised in order to win the admiration of others. They had it all now" (p. 83)! Jesus' message is still the same way today. There are those who long for a better life away from all of its pain and suffering, and there are those who long to cause more pain and suffering to get ahead of those who don't. Those who have the ears to hear are those who long for a life of peace and reach out to Jesus to hear His words of life of which the Sermon on the Mount are the most powerful.
In the Life in the Spirit Study Bible, New International Version, study note for chapters 5-7, says, "The Sermon on the Mount contains a revelation of God's principles of righteousness by which all Christians are to live through faith in the Son of God and through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit" (p. 1425). A more correct statement this could not be. The Sermon on the Mount is just the beginning of living a life worthy of God. To me, the messages contained within the sermon give me all I need to know about how to treat others, myself, and Jesus. At first, like those who first heard them in the past, the Sermon on the Mount was completely turned around from the live I once lived without Jesus. But, once I understood their message, my life began to grow more peaceful, my relationships changed, and I actually grew stronger in myself and in my life. Jesus' words of life gave me a hope and a future that I now long to live. The Sermon on the Mount was just the beginning of my life. Now it is the guide to my life in all its parts and ways.
The book of luke: the smart guide of the bible series. (p. 83). 2007 by GRQ, Inc.
Life in the spirit study bible, new international version, study note for the book of matthew, chapters 5-7. (1992, 2003). Life Publishers International.
Riggs, Ralph M. (1968). The life of Christ. Springfield, MI: Gospel Publishing House.
Comment: "I think for the people in Jesus' time, this sermon would have been extraordinarily different from anything that had ever been heard before."
Author Response: When the Jews heard this sermon their "ears" were in tune with the Old Testament laws of Moses. Moses told them one thing, but Jesus not only repeated the law but added so much more to it. "Love your enemies?" To a Jew, that meant loving the Romans and the Samaritans. I'm sure that they said "No way can I do that! What about them loving me?" Everything was funnel also through the wrong teachings of the Pharisees. I'm sure the Jews were wondering who was right, who should they truly follow. Thankfully, Jesus spoke with an authority that they had never heard before.
Even today, people find it hard to believe, let alone live, what Jesus had taught, even though we really haven't had, as Gentiles, any "laws" to follow before Jesus came to teach us. For many today, they have to funnel Jesus' words through the philosophers of our day, even though many are humanistic and wrong on all accounts about how man should live. Look at we who are saved: we had no idea what Jesus' words meant, if we even read them, before we were saved. It took the Holy Spirit to call us to Him so that we could understand Jesus' word and teach them to others. We need to remember that the Jews who first heard these words could not understand them fully until Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live inside us. Until then, the law is all they truly understood.
Unless you actually study why the Bible was written and to whom, most people miss out on the reason why the words were written. How can anyone possibly study the Book of Mark without knowing that it was written for Roman believers? I would guess that many would think that, since Israel was controlled by Rome, Roman believers would be safe. Even still is the fact that one must know a little about the history of the Romans to know why they would persecute their own. Many people have heard of Nero, but only as a fiddle playing nut-case who burned down Rome during one of his many fits. Nero and Herod had a lot in common since both were afraid of losing their kingdoms. Jesus upset them both by proclaiming Himself as King of the Jews, so they both murdered to save their kingdoms. Well, which king is now dead and gone, and which King is still alive and well and in full control of the universe? May the Real King reign forever!!!!!!
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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