7/23/2015

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)

The Sermon on the Mount (TSOM) is certainly the best known and possibly the least heeded part of the teaching of Christ. In this sermon Jesus listed the chief characteristics which are to mark the citizens of the kingdom of God. It is Jesus' own description of Christians or Jesus' people. It is not just how a Christian lives, but who a Christian truly is. It is the expression of his life that exudes from the very core of his being that has being touched and transformed by Christ. It sets forth his ideals for Christian discipleship.

St. Augustine was the first to call Matthew 5-7 "The Lord's Sermon on the Mount." Augustine also said that TSOM was the "perfect standard of the Christian life."

Quotes regarding TSOM:

"The Sermon ... isn't just about how to behave. It's about discovering the living God in the loving, and dying, Jesus, and learning to reflect that love ourselves into the world that needs it so badly." N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone.

"The sermon...is not a list of requirements, but rather a description of the life of a people gathered by and around Jesus." Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew.

"(Jesus') life is but a commentary on the sermon, and the sermon is the exemplification of his life." Stanley Hauerwas (American theologian, b. 1940).

"The Sermon on the Mount is not a statement to be treated in a cavalier fashion -- by saying that this or that isn't right or that here we find an inconsistency. Its validity depends on its being obeyed. This is not a statement that we can freely choose to take or leave. It is a compelling, lordly statement." Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

"What Jesus teaches in the sayings collected in the Sermon on the Mount is not a complete regulation of the life of the disciples, and it is not intended to be; rather, what is taught here is symptoms, signs, examples, of what it means when the kingdom of God breaks into the world which is still under sin, death, and the devil. You yourselves should be signs of the coming kingdom of God, signs that something has already happened." Joachim Jeremias (German Lutheran theologian, 1900 - 1979).

"The Sermon on the Mount has a strange way of making us better people or better liars." Dean Smith.