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Monday, September 04, 2006

Commandments in the Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount (link to ESV, all scripture quoted below from ESV, which allows use in blogs, with proper attribution), Matthew 5-7, has a lot of the teachings of Jesus. Inspired partly by a sermon I heard, I decided to look at those three chapters for commands. I already knew that Jesus amplified two of the Ten Commandments profoundly in 5:21-28. I found these 14 new commandments:

5:15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (From the context, He seems to have been talking about perfection in love, including loving your enemies. Surely He was not talking about, say, perfection in house painting or balancing a checkbook.)

3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged

7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

As Matthew put it: 7:28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,

They should have been. So should we. Perhaps I missed some more, but these are enough to point toward a radical life, a life that needs supernatural help to live.

Thanks for reading.


Pilgrim said...

That is interesting. We've lost that sense of the "newness" of this teaching.

Pilgrim said...

Surely He was not talking about, say, perfection in house painting or balancing a checkbook.

Pilgrim said...


Pilgrim said...

Sometimes we act that way, though.

Mirtika said...

There are days I simply cannot face the SotM. It's too difficult. It's too challenging. It's too demanding.

Other days, I read it like medicine--hard to swallow, but necessary for what ails me.

It's no wonder the crowd was astonished. I, 2 millenia later, have read this passage hundreds of times, and it always freaks me out.

If anyone thinks they can be godly on their own power, I can say with assurance they have never read the SotM. Or they skimmed it. Or they were dozing off when they read it. But you can't read that and not realize, 'Oh, sheesh. I'm in trouble. I need help here! I so totally suck at this holiness thing."


Anonymous said...

Doing this helped me find the Sermon "new." It didn't help me measure up, though. I agree with you, mirtika.

Thanks, ladies.