The Sermon On The Mount
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
The words printed above are the words which conclude Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in the book of Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7.
I have decided to use the summer to study the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. My hope is that starting in October I can co-ordinate Sunday messages and bible studies around the ‘Sermon on the Mount’.
My working theme is ‘Christian Ethics’. As one reads the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ one can see that Jesus is calling people, both believers and non-believers, to a new and different way of living in this world.
Jack R. Lundbom, in his book, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: Mandating a Better Righteousness, captures this ethic in the word ‘anti-wisdom’ when talking about the beatitudes in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (Matthew 5:1-12).
Lundbom cites the reformer, Martin Luther, who captured the conventional wisdom of
the world with these words,
“Whoever is rich and powerful is completely blessed; on the
other hand whoever is poor and miserable is rejected and
condemned before God.” (cited by Lundbom in his book. See above)
The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ offers a different ethic. Lunbom calls this ‘anti-wisdom’.
Some might call it a ‘higher wisdom’.
This ‘higher wisdom’ sees the poor in spirit, the mourning, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted as welcomed and valued in the Kingdom of God. (All these are from the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12)
The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ then continues to teach people how to live in a world and reflect this ‘higher wisdom’.
Of course, we understand the there was one who lived this ‘higher wisdom’ as it was meant to be lived. This one was Jesus Christ, who lived this wisdom for us. Through Jesus Christ we are brought into a life which reflects this wisdom.
May God enable us to live in this ‘higher wisdom’.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California