Matthew 5-7 is known as The Sermon On The Mount. Jesus’ own words comprise all three chapters, save for the first two verses in chapter five and the last two verses in chapter seven.
Matthew 5:1-2 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
In His sermon, Jesus does not hold back regarding His position on the law—He proclaims God desires heartfelt faithful obedience from His kingdom followers over rote followers of the many manmade religious laws. On this hillside near Capernaum where enormous crowds gathered, those in attendance included some believers and some curiosity seekers coming to find out what this popular man, Jesus, represented.
Was this “man” really the Messiah, The Chosen One, the Savior that Israel had been waiting for since the prophets of old? History reveals this sermon would eternally change many hearts for God.
The sermon starts off with a section known as The Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are a code of ethics for disciples, contrasting known worldly values and those of the Pharisees. The Beatitudes must be taken as a whole by Christ followers.
Matthew 5:3-12 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Following The Beatitudes, Jesus uses metaphors comparing Christians to salt and light. Salt, with all its flavor, is of no value if never used. And light, if it is hidden for none to see, is of no use either. Jesus is saying Christians are to share the word.
He goes on to state He is not abolishing the law but fulfilling God’s law. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s original law, not Israel’s then current law which became corrupt and abused by the Pharisees.
In concise words, Jesus shares positive ways we should live: avoid anger and lust, He explains acceptable reasons for divorce, the importance of keeping vows, and we should turn the other cheek instead of seeking revenge.
Unarguably, if all would simply follow Jesus’ next teaching on loving our enemies, much conflict in life would be averted. He then tells us to give to the needy and expounds on the importance of prayer with an example in Matthew 6:9-13, referred to as The Lord’s Prayer.
And when we fast, Jesus does do want us to be vain about it. Just as we are not to be vain with our money, nor worry about how we will eat or where our clothes will come come from. Even with all that Jesus had already shared on how to live godly, there was still more and the crowds stayed to listen.
We are not to judge, lest we be judged. We are to persistently pursue God through prayer. We are to understand unless God’s commands are followed, we can not enter the gate to heaven. Yet, be weary of prophets who present His commands falsely.
Jesus ends His famous sermon with a simile:
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
With that, Jesus finished speaking to the people gathered on that hill near Capernaum. Yes, the people often heard priests and teachers of the law speak—but they quoted prophets. Jesus had no need to quote anyone, because Jesus is The Word, John 1:1.
Matthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.