- Religion and Philosophy
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount was Jesus' discourse to the disciples and the multitude in the Gospel of Matthew 5-7. It is also found in briefer form in Luke 6:20-49, where it is virtually "the ordination sermon of the Twelve" (Luke 6:12-16). There are parallels to these teachings elsewhere in the Gospels, and many scholars hold that the nucleus of the sermon was preserved in the "Sayings Source" (called "Q" for Quelle, "source"), and that the evangelists, chiefly Matthew, elaborated it by adding relevant material from other sources. As a typical "sermon" of Jesus, it is unsurpassed in interest and importance.
The chief subjects are: (1) the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10) followed by a special application to the disciples; (2) Jesus' purpose, to "fulfill" the Law, to widen or deepen its scope, rather than to annul or "destroy" it (Matthew 5:17-48); this is illustrated by several examples of the "fulfillment" of the ancient legislation; (3) Jesus' reinterpretation of the customary acts of piety prescribed by the scribes and their Pharisaic followers- almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (Matthew 6:1-18); this section includes the Lord's Prayer; (4) the importance of absolute sincerity and trust in God (Matthew 6:19-34); (5) various admonitions, as against censorious-ness, imprudence in preaching, hesitation or reluctance in prayer, hypocrisy, merely verbal profession of faith, and concluding with the great parable of the two house builders (Matthew 7:1-27).
Many scholars have described this sermon as "the Charter of Christianity." However, it is best understood as a sermon, presupposing the current Jewish faith and practice but insisting upon a new approach, a new devotion, of the kind all Jesus' teachings expressed.