The Sermon on the Mount is contained in chapters 5-7. The richness of this teaching is unparalleled. In chapter 5, Jesus begins to challenge popular misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the Law. He explains God’s true moral and ethical expectations. The standards are not unrealistic or unfair. God expects us to do the absolute best we can.
The Beatitudes speak not of outward happiness, but of the blessed spiritual state of those who take these teachings to heart. This is a section well worth memorizing.
God’s people are salt and light. Salt flavors and preserves food. We can have that effect on people. We are the light of the world, showing others the way to God through Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:14-16). God’s word is our light (Psa. 119:105), and Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). It is our responsibility to pass it on.
Jesus cut through the traditions of men to explain the truth of God’s word. To some it may have seemed that he had come to destroy the Law of God. Far from it. Jesus came to fulfill the Law. He fulfilled its moral demands, its prophecies, and its promises. The purpose of the Law had been to guide people to Christ, but soon they would no longer be under the Law (Gal. 3:23-25). Jesus did not destroy the Law, but he did abolish it by fulfilling it and by replacing it with the New Covenant (Eph. 2:14-17).
Jesus emphasized that God has always expected men to keep both the letter and the spirit of his law. It is wrong to murder, but hatred is wrong as well. It leads to murder. Adultery is wrong because it destroys marriages. Lust is wrong because it leads to adultery and other forms of sexual immorality. Marriage is a sacred trust. Jesus taught against careless oaths, emphasizing that we should be people of our word. We must tell the truth and keep our commitments. Revenge comes with a high price. Sometimes it hurts us more than the other person.
We are challenged to love all people, even loving our enemies if we have such. God pours out the blessings of life on all people. Only when we learn to treat all people equally will we be mature and complete in our practice of love. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all understood and practiced the teachings of Matthew 5?
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.