Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount: How to Follow God

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7, is an excellent summary of his ethical teachings.

John VersesThe Sermon on the Mount is so named because, according to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus delivered this sermon on a mountain or hill, to a large crowd of His followers. The term "Sermon on the Mount" is not actually used in the biblical text itself.

The Sermon on the Mount is filled with very challenging material. Jesus starts with the Beatitudes and continues through several other key points that redefine the Jewish law. Some people have called this sermon an idealization of behavior in heaven. However, most scholars (and the Church) believe that Jesus intended his sermon to be practical, even if following it may be exceedingly difficult.

The Sermon on the Mount is, in many ways, a Christian ethical system, much like the Jewish law. However, Jesus' teachings don't replace the Ten Commandments, but rather call Christians to go beyond them. For example, the Ten Commandments prohibit murder, while Jesus calls us to not only not kill, but also to not hate. The Ten Commandments prohibit adultery, while the Sermon on the Mount asks us to not even lust.

Luke's Gospel includes a variation on this sermon, often referred to as "The Sermon On The Plain" because it was delivered in a flat area. Scholars debate whether this is a different telling of the same event, or another sermon of Jesus that was recorded independently.

Updated 08-08-2018