Gospel of Matthew Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7)
Sermon on Mount • Core of Jesus’ preaching • Shows strong critique of competing versions of Judaism • But also shows a vision of a transformed Judaism (5:17) • Centers on vision of God’s Kingdom, which challenges human notions of authority and community
Historical context • Jesus born ca. 4 BCE, crucified ca. 30 CE • Gospel written ca. 80-90 CE • 4 “canonical” gospels • 12 or so extant non-canonical gospels • What made some canonical? • Written for Jewish-Christian audience • Earliest followers of Jesus were Jews • Reflects intra-Jewish debate at time of destruction of Temple; which way to go?
Jesus as the New Moses • Birth narrative: had to be hidden from King in Egypt • Law givers • Receive revelation on mountain • Sinai vs. Sermon on the Mount • Jesus does not abandon law but fulfills it • Reinterprets law against Pharisees
The Beatitudes • What is the purpose of the speech? • What is blessed? • How does this compare to “worldly” perceptions? • What is the “kingdom of heaven”?
Kingdom of God (KOG) • Main theme of Jesus’ ministry in all 4 gospels • Subject of preaching • KOG is immanent, “in your midst” • KOG is breaking into society, but is not yet fully realized • KOG is a radical challenge to how people live: under Roman occupation, divided into groups and classes • KOG is salvation, conforming the world to God’s will (6:10) • Demonstrated in actions • Open table fellowship: eating with “sinful” persons, people of higher and lower classes • Healing and exorcisms: freedom from oppression • Challenge to Roman empire, who punished him with the death sentence
The Antitheses • Prelude: Matthew 5:17 • Matt 5:21-48 • How does Jesus interpret the Mosaic law here? • 5 antitheses symbolic of 5 books of Torah?
Chapters 6-7 • How does Jesus treat prayer and ritual? • What are the ethical guidelines of Jesus? • How does this relate to the kingdom of heaven? • Note 7:12: sums up law and prophets (Jewish teaching)