Beginning in this chapter, Matthew records the "Sermon On The Mount". The theme of the sermon is "The kingdom of heaven" (cf. Mt 4:17; 5:3,10,19-20; 6:10,33; 7:21). Jesus began with "The Beatitudes," describing the character and blessedness of those who would be citizens of the kingdom (1-12) and illustrating their relation to world as salt and light (13-16). Clarifying His own relationship with the Law, Jesus stressed how our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees (17-20) following with a series of contrasts between the oral interpretations of the Law and conduct expected of His disciples (21-48).
POINTS TO PONDER
* The meaning of the phrase: "the kingdom of heaven"
* The blessedness of those in the kingdom, and their relationship to the world
* How our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
2) What do the beatitudes describe? (3-12)
- The character and blessedness of the citizens of the kingdom
3) How are citizens of the kingdom to relate to the world? (13-16)
- As the salt of the earth and the light of the world
4) What was Jesus’ relation to the Law of Moses? (17-18)
- He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it
5) What does Jesus expect of those who would be citizens of the kingdom? (20)
- Righteousness that surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees
6) List the five subjects whose interpretations are contrasted in this chapter (21-48)
- Murder, adultery, oaths, retaliation, love
7) What phrases illustrate the contrast? (21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34,38-39, 43-44)
- "You have heard that it was said..." (not "It is written...")
- "But I say to you..."
8) Then what contrast is being made with these five subjects?
- The oral interpretation and application of the Law versus the teaching of Jesus
[Mat 5:1-48 NKJV] 1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed [are] the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed [are] those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed [are] the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed [are] those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed [are] the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed [are] the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 9 Blessed [are] the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed [are] those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great [is] your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Believers are salt and light
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all [who are] in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Christ fulfills the Law
17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches [them], he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Murder begins in the heart
21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' 22 "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 "Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Adultery in the heart
27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast [it] from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast [it] from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Marriage is sacred and binding
31 "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Jesus forbids oaths
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 "But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 "nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 "Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Go the second mile
38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have [your] cloak also. 41 "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Love your enemies
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more [than others]? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.