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Thread: Why The Sermon on the Mount?

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    Why The Sermon on the Mount?

    What is the point of this message?

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    What is the point of the sermon? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    When looking at eschatology in the Gospels, one of the main points to establish is really the kingship of Jesus. For that now, we start a look at the Sermon on the Mount. Many of us look at the sermon and see a great list of ethical principles. It is that, but it is so much more.

    We are in an election year and so this year, our candidates for whatever office will be going around stating what things are going to be like if they win their election. Jesus is doing the same kind of thing in this sermon. He is not just telling people how to live. He is telling them what matters most in the Kingdom of God and how you are to live in the Kingdom.

    The sermon ends with the people being amazed because Jesus spoke with authority. How? He is a king and He is speaking as a king and He is laying down the law. This is quite literal. Throughout the sermon, Jesus is doing something radical. He is speaking on the Law and declaring what is really going to happen.

    Whatís so amazing about that? Didnít the rabbis speak on the Law? Yes, but they always pointed to another authority. Jesus doesnít do that. Jesus is basically getting up and saying ďIím in charge and I donít need anyone else to back what I say.Ē He speaks from His own position and authority.

    Itís so startling that a Jewish scholar like Jacob Neusner looked at it once and said, ďWho do you think you are? God?Ē Well, yes. He did. He thought He alone had the authority to speak this way.

    Jesusís Kingdom is a reversal of what most kings would give. This is not about how to build up the best army to go after Rome. If anything, the only time Rome is spoken of, it is of how one can better serve a Roman soldier or how one should retaliate from an insult from a Roman soldier or any demand from such a soldier. This is not what you expect from your Messiah.

    Furthermore, if you seek to follow the ethical principles, you are falling short if you do not follow the king who gave them. As Lewis said, Jesus is not just coming claiming to be a good moral teacher. Heís claiming to be the King of all. Besides, as Lewis said, we have had a penchant of not listening to our moral teachers and if Jesus was the best one, all the more reason for us to not listen to Him.

    So over the next few days, I plan to look over the sermon and see it from a kingly perspective. I hope youíll join me.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

  2. Amen KingsGambit amen'd this post.
  3. #2
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    Who is giving the sermon?

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    Who is it that is giving this sermon? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    In looking at eschatology in the Gospels, one thing to establish is Jesusís view of Himself as the king of Israel and yet also as the priest of Israel. I said last time that we would be looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Today, I am going to really start off by looking at that sermon.

    Now the question of who gave it sounds like a no-brainer. Jesus gave it. If thatís all weíre really asking by the question, then this blog is pretty much done. The question though is more how did the person who gave it see Himself and also how is Matthew presenting Him?

    Matthew constantly presents Jesus in a style that is very Jewish. His book is laid out in a fivefold format much like the Pentateuch would have been seen in. Itís split between teaching and acting. At the start, we have Jesus going to John the Baptist to be baptized going under the water. After going through the water, He enters the wilderness for 40 days and nights to be tempted.

    Does this sound like any story a Jew would know? Definitely. It sounds like Israel passing through the waters of the Red Sea (In a miraculous way, of course) and then going into the wilderness where they were tempted for forty years. What comes in all of that? The giving of the Law. Lo and behold, what do we find in chapter five?

    Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

    2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

    It might seem like a given to say He opened His mouth to teach them. What else is He going to do? Sign language? However, Matthew chose to point this out for a reason. What is that? To make us think about the Law coming from the mouth of YHWH in the Old Testament.

    Jesus then gets up and He starts expounding the Law. He starts explaining what is meant by it. We can say this is consistent with Jesus because one thing historical Jesus scholars note about Him is that He never really pointed to anyone elseís authority aside from God Himself. Jesus did not need to address any other rabbis. If all you had was the Gospels, you wouldnít even know other rabbis existed.

    Jesus is treading on sacred ground. He is handling the Law and saying that He alone has the authority. He alone can go up on the mountain and deliver the law to the people. He is the new Moses leading His people. He is the new priest. He is the new king.

    He will also speak as what He says has divine authority and if He really thinks that, then how does He see Himself? You could say that any prophet in the Old Testament would do the same, but Jesus never goes ďThus sayeth the Lord.Ē He says quite the opposite. He says ďYou have heard it was saidÖ., but I say to you.Ē The prophets didnít speak like that.

    So as we go through the sermon, letís remember this is the priest telling us how to live and this is the king looking at His subjects saying this is how my reign is going to be. What will it be like? Looking at the sermon in future installments will tell us.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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    Who is blessed in the Kingdom?

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    Who is blessed in the Sermon on the Mount? Letís plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

    Eschatology has brought us to looking at Jesus as king in the Gospels starting with Matthew and weíre looking at the Sermon on the Mount. If Jesus is stating His role in this sermon as laying down a new way of living, then who is it that He is going to include? The fascinating idea here is that Jesus goes for the ones that society rejects.

    Thereís a funny little saying that speaks of Godís choice in the Jewish people and says, ďHow odd of God to choose the Jews.Ē It goes on to say, ďBut odder still are those who reject whom God chose.Ē In choosing the Jewish people, God did not choose a grand and prestigious people. He chose an old man who while rich did not have an heir and through him began His plan.

    Like Father, like Son. When Jesus goes through and announces His citizens in the Kingdom, He picks the ones that are rejected. The rich and elite are not mentioned in this list. The Pharisees and Sadducees are left out. Jesus welcomes the ones that are even outcasts in Israel.

    We see this in His life in the Gospels. Who does Jesus choose to hang out with? Prostitutes and tax collectors. Most of his apostles are fishermen and other common men including one of those tax collectors. We donít know of any of them being part of the elite.

    Actually, all of these people will also get what they want. Are you mourning? Youíre going to be comforted. Are you hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Youíre going to get it. Are you one of the downtrodden, the meek? Youíre going to get the whole world.

    This is a major contrast to the Roman Empire of the time who would want the best of the best in their kingdom. Paulís commander who had him flogged said he paid a lot of money for his citizenship. The Roman Empire didnít take being a citizen lightly. You had to show you had earned it. In Jesusís kingdom, itís those who know they have not earned it who are the most worthy.

    Think youíre not good enough for the kingdom? Youíre right. Youíre not. Jesus welcomes you into the kingdom if you come to Him. You donít have to really do anything to enter the kingdom except acknowledge that Jesus alone can get you into it and come to Him for that.

    This part does culminate in persecution. I want to save that for another time. It requires its own focus, but for now, I simply want us to remember that God has a habit of picking those who the world rejects. He hasnít changed.

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters

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