Gospels Week 4: The Sermon on the Mount

Reading

Matthew 5–7

Questions

  • Is Jesus a good public speaker?
  • What is prayer?

This week, we read Jesus’s most famous speech: the sermon on the mount. For anyone who’s remotely familiar with Jesus’s teachings, it’s kind of a Top Hits: we’ve got good stuff on the poor inheriting the earth, justice, turning the other cheek, and loving one’s neighbour.

We discussed a lot of interesting things, including:

  • 🧂Jesus’s obsession with salt (“I don’t understand this salt thing!” says Uriel). Turns out that in ancient times, most salt was impure, so when Jesus talks about the “salt of the earth,” it actually is possible for “salt” to “lose its saltiness,” i.e., not be pure salt.
  • 🔄 It’s pretty repetitive, in the eyes of Belial.
  • 🔥 Jesus is pretty radical!
  • 🪔 “This Little Light of Mine” turns up.
  • 🌬 God isn’t just with only the Israelites/Jews at this point—part of what Jesus is saying that’s so radical is that God could be with everyone.
  • 🕊 Maybe Jesus is all about breaking the cycle of revenge? (Especially with the turn the other cheek stuff.)
  • ⚖️ What does Jesus see as justice? Can justice ever be done in this life, or do we have to wait for the next one?
  • ☯️ There’s some convergence with ideas we associate with Eastern religions: transience, letting go of earthly pleasures/pains.

We ended with the Lord’s Prayer. What does it mean to “know” this prayer “by heart”? Is it a mantra, a ritual, an authentic “request” to God?


Takeaways:

Sometimes words can be meaningful simply because they are familiar…

Image: Jesus preaches on the mountain. Church in Coyoacan, Mexico. Courtesy of Flickr, Lawrence OP.

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