Sermon on the Mount

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them
Matthew 5:1-2
 Ἰδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ·
καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων

Crowds frame (5:1 and 7:28,29) this first of five sermons in Matthew.

Matthew’s Jesus is the new Moses: escape from a ruler killing male children, going through the water, and temptation in the desert. Now Jesus, the new Moses, teaches the new law from the mountain. Five sermons, of course, echo the five scrolls of the/Moses’ Pentateuch.

Mountains are important in Matthew: the temptation (4:8-10), here, the feeding (15:29-39), transfiguration (17:1-9), arrest (26:30-35), and Great Commission (28:16).

“He sat down” – sitting is the Jewish posture for teaching. Matthew’s Jesus sits in a boat to teach (13:2), and on the Mount of Olives (24:3). Matthew speaks of the “seat of Moses” (23:2).

προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ his disciples came to him

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s, Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 4), pp. 100-110 sees the Beatitudes as directed to the disciples who have already dropped everything to follow Jesus. The crowd in this perspective is potential disciples should they accept the valuation that Jesus places on following him. Bonhoeffer writes:

Therefore, “Blessed!” Jesus is speaking to the disciples (cf. Luke 6:20ff.). He is speaking to those who are already under the power of his call. That call has made them poor, tempted, and hungry. He calls them blessed, not because of their want or renunciation. Neither want nor renunciation are in themselves any reason to be called blessed. The only adequate reason is the call and the promise, for whose sake those following him live in want and renunciation.

p.101

“he began to speak” – literally, “he opened his mouth” (ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ) – a Semitic expression (Job 3:1-2; Ps 78:2; Judg 11:35-36)

As this year the Sunday Gospel reading focus is on St Matthew’s Gospel, I thought I’d start some of my personal study and Lectio Divina with that Gospel. [NB. I am using ‘Matthew’ as a convenient term for the author of the first Gospel in the order of the Christian canon].

This is the thirty-third post in a series – you can begin here:
Matthew in Slow Motion 1
Matthew in Slow Motion 2
Matthew in Slow Motion 3
Matthew in Slow Motion 4
Matthew in Slow Motion 5
Matthew in Slow Motion 6
Matthew in Slow Motion 7
Matthew in Slow Motion 8
Matthew in Slow Motion 9
Matthew in Slow Motion 10
Matthew in Slow Motion 11
Matthew in Slow Motion 12
Matthew in Slow Motion 13
Matthew in Slow Motion 14
Matthew in Slow Motion 15
Matthew in Slow Motion 16
Matthew in Slow Motion 17
Matthew in Slow Motion 18
Matthew in Slow Motion 19
Matthew in Slow Motion 20
Matthew in Slow Motion 21
Matthew in Slow Motion 22
Matthew in Slow Motion 23
Matthew in Slow Motion 24
Matthew in Slow Motion 25
Matthew in Slow Motion 26
Matthew in Slow Motion 27
Matthew in Slow Motion 28
Matthew in Slow Motion 29
Matthew in Slow Motion 30
Matthew in Slow Motion 31
Matthew in Slow Motion 32

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