The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His (a)disciples came to Him. 2 Then He began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].(A)
4 “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].(B)
5 “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the (b)gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.(C)
6 “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.(D)
7 “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.(E)
9 “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.(F)
10 “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for (c)doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(G)
Disciples and the World
13 “You are the (d)salt of the earth; but if the salt has (e)lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery].
14 “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.(H) 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.
17 “Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the (f)Law [of Moses] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For I assure you and most solemnly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke [of the pen] will pass from the Law until all things [which it foreshadows] are accomplished. 19 So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness (uprightness, moral essence) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘Whoever murders shall be (g)guilty before the court.’(I) 22 But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice against him shall be guilty before the court; and whoever speaks [contemptuously and insultingly] to his brother, (h)‘Raca (You empty-headed idiot)!’ shall be guilty before the supreme court (Sanhedrin); and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the (i)fiery hell. 23 So if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and while there you remember that your brother has something [such as a grievance or legitimate complaint] against you, 24 leave your offering there at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 Come to terms quickly [at the earliest opportunity] with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way [to court], so that your opponent does not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you are thrown into prison.(J) 26 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid the last (j)cent.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;(K) 28 but I say to you that everyone who [so much as] looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 “It has also been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife is to give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on grounds of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who has been divorced commits adultery.(L)
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not make false vows, but you shall fulfill your vows to the Lord [as a religious duty].’ 34 But I say to you, do not make an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God; 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.(M) 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.(N)
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’(O) 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever (k)slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].(P) 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, (l)let him have your coat also [for the Lord repays the offender]. 41 And whoever (m)forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.(Q)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’(R) 44 But I say to you, (n)love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,(S) 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.(T)
a. Matthew 5:1: A disciple was a “learner” who may have been curious or convinced or committed.
b. Matthew 5:5: Or humble, meek.
c. Matthew 5:10: Lit the sake of righteousness.
d. Matthew 5:13: In ancient times salt was often used as a preservative. Similarly, followers of Christ are to preserve both the gospel message and Christian values in the secular world.
e. Matthew 5:13: The salt from the Dead Sea contains impurities that affect its qualities as a seasoning and as a preservative.
f. Matthew 5:17: I.e. the Pentateuch.
g. Matthew 5:21: Or liable to.
h. Matthew 5:22: A severe Aramaic insult.
i. Matthew 5:22: Gr Gehenna, a Greek version of the Hebrew for Valley of Hinnom, a ravine where garbage was burned continuously, located just south of Jerusalem. Often regarded in ancient times as symbolic of hell (the lake of fire), a realm reserved for the wicked. Mentioned in Matt 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6.
j. Matthew 5:26: Gr kodrantes, from the Lat quadrans, which was the smallest Roman bronze coin.
k. Matthew 5:39: In this context the “slap” is not an act of violence, but more likely an insult or violation of one’s rights.
l. Matthew 5:40: Probably a prohibition against frivolous legal action.
m. Matthew 5:41: Roman soldiers were allowed to force civilian bystanders to carry their gear one mile for them.
n. Matthew 5:44: The key to understanding this and other statements about love is to know that this love (the Greek word agape) is not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person, that is, having an unselfish concern for another and a willingness to seek the best for another.