In this following narrative, I have attempted to capture the main teaching points, or, the essence, of what I believe Yeshua was teaching his disciples in that most eloquent and enduring of all passages in the Believers Writings (New Testament): what we have come to know as the “Sermon on the Mount”.
While that passage historically is set on a hillside in Galilee, a similar passage in Luke’s narrative in Chapter 6 carries much of the same meanings and topics, yet is set on a plain, not a hillside. Historians and theologians disagree if they are two renderings of the same speech, or if they are two different occasions where we learn of some of Yeshua’s repeated teachings about the Kingdom.
Either way, I have attempted in this work to capture and blend the two, not so much as a “harmony” of the passages, but as a combining of (and possibly adding contemporary insight to) similar teachings of the Messiah. The verse numbers are listed for reference with your favorite Bible version; the phrases in bold are the main point of each passage; and italicized references are the interpolations from the Luke passage.
Now, please understand, this work in no way is an attempt to re-write scripture. I have conducted this more as an experiment in my own personal study of the passages in question, and have rendered these sayings in a way that is meaningful to me in my own understanding of what I believe Yeshua was conveying. If I was teaching on these passages, these are the points I would be bringing out. I merely post it here for your review in the sincere hope you may be edified with its perspective, and possibly look at these timeless truths in a new and meaningful way. –Steve
Matthew Chapter 5
3 Have an empty spirit, ready to receive and obey the slightest instruction, and you will be blessed as the kingdom of heaven is yours.
4 Grieve for unrighteousness, and you will be blessed, as God will be near to comfort you.
5 Conduct yourself with mildness and gentleness, and you will be blessed as an inheritor of the whole world.
6 Crave equity; thirst for doing the right thing, and you will be blessed as you are satisfied.
7 Extend mercy and compassion to others, and you will be blessed, receiving mercy in return.
8 Have a pure and blameless heart at all times, and you will be blessed, seeing God.
9 Make peace; do peace, and you will be blessed, being recognized as a child of God.
10 Endure ridicule for doing what’s right, and you will be blessed, having possession of the Kingdom of God.
11-12 You can be exceedingly happy when you are persecuted for my sake, for you are blessed, being in the company of many righteous ones who have gone before you, and your heavenly wages will be large.
13 Be as distinctive and useful as salt while on this earth. For salt that has no taste cannot be used for anything.
14-16 Be the light of the the world, as obvious as a city on a hillside, or a candle inside a darkened household.
Be shining: let your good practices be seen by all.
17-18 Do not suppose that I have appeared in order to demolish the law or the prophets; just the opposite! I am fulfilling Torah by doing it! As enduring as the earth and sky, Torah will always remain until it is completely fulfilled.
19 Do not relax even the smallest standards of Torah for yourself and others or you will be considered small. However, by doing it and teaching it and you will be called great.
20 To go in to the Kingdom, your virtue and purity must exceed those who are merely following external commands.
21-22 While everyone knows that murder subjects you to judgment, I tell you the same applies to unchecked emotions. Therefore, do not call someone a fool or an idiot or be unrighteously angry with anyone.
Someone who is good will only produce good words out of the good resources in his heart. But someone harmful speaks in harmful ways because of the bad resources in his heart. Remember, the words we speak always come from the overflow of the heart (6:45).
23-26 Reconciliation with all others must take place prior to worshiping God or seeking his forgiveness. This includes adversaries and anyone you know to be holding something against you. Otherwise, there can be a steep price to pay with lifelong consequences.
27-28 While adultery is forbidden, do not even think about others lustfully in your heart.
31-32 Never forsake your commitment to your spouse.
29-30 All stumblingblocks to righteous living must be removed with extreme diligence.
33-37 Be a person of your word, not requiring any oath to substantiate your actions. Simply say yes or no, and do what you say. Anything more than this consists of great trouble.
38-41 Never retaliate; instead, offer to go above and beyond for those oppressing you.
42 Give and loan freely to whoever asks of you, expecting nothing back from them (6:35), and yet you will receive a beautiful and abundant return. For the depth of your generosity to others determines your blessings in return (6:38).
46 If you love, do favors for, and lend freely to only those from whom you expect to receive in kind, how is that different than anyone else? Everyone does that! (6:32-34).
43-45 Instead, follow the example of your Father in heaven by loving your enemies; speak well of them, help them, and pray for their needs; for he is kind to the ungrateful and merciful to those who cause anguish. Be merciful and compassionate, in the same manner as your heavenly Father (6:35-36).
48 In doing these things, you will be completely righteous like your Father in heaven.
Matthew Chapter 6
1-2 Beware of hypocritically helping others merely for recognition; if you do so, that hollow acclaim is the only benefit you will ever receive.
3-4 Instead, be privately and sincerely compassionate toward those in need. Your Father in heaven, who perceives what is done secretly, will openly give back to you.
5,7 Similarly, you should not pray long and repetitious prayers in order to impress others; this also is hypocritical and pointless.
6,8 Instead, make every effort to pray in a private place, simply and sincerely, for your Father in heaven knows your needs before you even ask.
9-13 Accordingly, pray in this way:
Father in heaven, your Name is holy. May your kingdom come, your will being done on earth as it is in heaven. Please give us, this day, our daily provision. Please forgive us our sins and shortcomings, in the same manner as we forgive the sins and shortcomings of others. May we not be led into adversity and hard testing; nevertheless rescue us from anguish, harm, and from all evil. For the kingdom, and all power, and all glory belong to you, perpetually and forever.
14-16 Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. However, if you remain unforgiving to the faults of others, your Father in heaven will not forgive you.
17-18 When you fast, take measures to be certain it is not obvious to others. Your Father in heaven, though he is concealed, will perceive it, and he will give again to you through outwardly apparent means.
19-21 Do not amass earthly wealth which is constantly subject to loss. Instead, amass heavenly wealth, for it will always be perfectly safe. For your heart will always be concerned with the deposit of your wealth.
22-23 The lamp of the body is its gaze; with clear vision, your whole being will shine brightly. However, if your focus is always on anguish and harm, your whole being shall be consumed with a very deep darkness.
24 No one is able to be a slave of two masters. One will be held in low regard while the other will be loved, and vice-versa. You cannot be bound equally both to God and to your confidence in wealth.
25 Therefore do not be anxious about your necessary subsistence like food, drink and clothing. Isn’t your life about more than these?
26 Learn from the birds: they do not plant and harvest and store their food, but your heavenly Father provides food for them.
27 Who has ever grown by being anxious about anything?
28-29 Learn from the flowers: they do not work or make fabric, and yet they are enrobed with beauty by God.
30 Don’t you realize that you greatly surpass the value of birds and flowers, or is your faith too small to recognize this?
31-32 Do not be anxious about such things. The rest of the world may crave and desire these things, but your heavenly Father knows all of your needs.
33 Instead, first and foremost, your desires should be directed to the Kingdom of God, and doing the right thing according to his standards. If you do, then all of these necessary things will be laid beside you, as well.
34 Therefore, do not be anxious about what hasn’t happened yet; let the future carry its own anxieties. Each day has just enough troubles of its own.
Matthew Chapter 7
1-2 Don’t criticize others, for you will likewise be measured by the same standards you use on others.3-4 Why do you focus on the smallest faults of others, while ignoring your own faults which are much more prominent?
5 Don’t be hypocritical. You can only be of real assistance to others when you have removed your own faults.
6 Don’t share something sacred or spiritually pure with those who are not receptive. They may reject its worth with insults, and then turn against you for harm.
7-8 Always keep asking, knocking, and seeking. You shall receive what you ask for, doors shall be opened up to your knocking, and what you diligently seek for will be found by you.
9-11 Like a parent who knows how to give good things to his children, your heavenly Father will certainly give beneficial things, including the spirit of holiness (11:13), to those who are diligent in asking.
12 Certainly, anything that you wish others would do for you, do in the same manner for them, for this summarizes God’s teachings regarding others.
13-14 There is a constricted entryway into life which has many obstacles standing about it. Labor fervently to stay on the difficult, rutted path that leads through the cramped passage to life along with the few others who also perceive its value and find it; for most everyone else is on a flat and spacious thoroughfare leading to ruin.
15-16 Beware of deceitful religious impostors, for those who are blind are unable to effectively show the way to others who also cannot see; ultimately, both will fall into a deep hole (6:39). They appear outwardly harmless but inwardly are like hungry animals searching for prey. You can recognize them by evaluating the results of their words and actions.
17-19 This is similar to how a healthy tree cannot bear worthless fruit, and a worthless tree is unable to bear healthy fruit. Worthless trees are good for nothing but to be cut down and burned.
20 Therefore, by looking closely at the results of their words and actions, this is how you will recognize them for what they truly are.
Though they may abound in wealth and provision, they shall experience the grief of poverty and hunger. They should beware when men speak well of them, for false prophets of the past were treated the same way! (6:24-25).
21 Entering into the Kingdom of heaven is possible only by consistently doing the will of my Father in heaven, not by merely claiming to be my disciple. A true disciple will not rise above the one who instructs him, but when he fulfills his instructor’s teaching by doing it, his actions will be of the same caliber (6:40).
22 Many think they are doing the right religious things, like casting out demons, prophesying, or other seemingly good works, and all these in my name, but I have never known them to practice righteousness. In fact, they are always engaged in unrighteousness, and are therefore destined to be turned away.
23-27 Accordingly, by hearing and doing these words of mine, you will be considered wise, and you will be as safe as a house built firmly on a rock which can weather any storm. But those who hear these things without doing them are as reckless as those who have built a house on sand; it will be spectacularly destroyed by winds and floods in due time.