Some time ago I began to undertake
some personal studies of the "Sermon on the Mount." I thought I
would outline the sermon, break it into various texts and subheadings, and
maybe have a dozen pages. However, as I began to research some of the history
of this sermon, I began to realize how deficient the church has been in their
understanding of its true message.
I began to count all of the sayings of
Christ spoken on the Mount that could be, and have been misinterpreted over
the centuries. I stopped counting at 40, but the list could go on. For
example: "Resist not evil…" Does this mean that I should
let a man break into my home? "If a man sue thee…" Does
this mean that I should automatically forfeit the case? "Lay not up
treasure on earth…" Does this mean that I should not have a
savings account? "If a man smite thee…" Does this mean that
I should allow the thug to beat me up on the street?
What has made this sermon to appear to
be so unattainable, is the imbalanced interpretation and teaching of its
message. The Sermon on the Mount has been a subject of much controversy over
the centuries. There have been those who insisted that it were to be taken
literally – to the letter. That means, if thine eye offend thee, pluck it
out! That means, if you need to pray, look for a closet.
There have been others who have
contested that it can only be fulfilled by clerics. Many joined the monastic
societies and orders because they felt that, that was the only way the sermon
could be fulfilled. Still, others have embraced many strange and ambiguous
One thing is sure; God’s people have
suffered many needless afflictions and miseries because of an imbalanced
perception of its true message: People have suffered criminal assaults, people
have been victimized with unjust lawsuits, personal damages, not to mention
condemnation and guilt. As the prophet said: "My people are destroyed for
lack of knowledge."
The Sermon on the Mount is a message
that never grows old but for the mature saint it grows mellower with age. We
find a greater definition and distinction in this message as we mature In the
Lord. The more that I understand the message – the more attainable (the more
apprehendable) it becomes. It is with this thought in mind that I set forth
this little commentary.
It is the Lord’s desire for His
people to understand His ways. We are the New Covenant people. We are the
people that should have the law written upon our hearts so that we too can
teach the nations. May the Lord give us the grace to rightly divide and
balance this beautiful message into our everyday life!
commentary thoroughly covers all 111 verses as found in Matthew, chapters