It wasn’t until I had been a Christian for many years that I realized Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was actually a sermon—a cohesive set of teachings, applications, and commands bound into a message that would take about 25 minutes to deliver when read aloud from beginning to end.
One reason I was so slow to put this together is because these three chapters from Matthew’s Gospel contain so many brilliant stand-alone thoughts. Many sections from this one sermon have been turned into entire sermon series in themselves; the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes come to mind.
I am excited to spend the next several weeks unpacking it along with other “Hes” reading Truth. As you read through the sermon in its entirety today, see if John Stott’s words about it resonate:
“The Sermon on the Mount has a unique fascination. It seems to present the quintessence of the teaching of Jesus. It makes goodness attractive. It shames shabby performance. It engenders dreams of a better world.”
At the heart of this sermon is the promise of a coming kingdom—one that is with us now in part, but will one day be realized in full. This sermon about the kingdom of God was delivered by the King Himself, Jesus Christ. He spoke these words to a weary and confused people. The generations of Israelites leading up to Jesus’ birth (and this sermon) had been through a season. They had rebelled against God. They had been carried off into exile. They had returned only to have their homeland become occupied by Rome. Jesus’ audience for this sermon was made up of people who were struggling to remember both who they were and whose they were.
In this sermon, Jesus reminds them, and us, what the kingdom of God is, what it is not, and how to live as citizens of His kingdom now, in this life. But this sermon is more than a call to obedience. It is also a description of the life Jesus lived in our place. His entire ministry—in life, death, and resurrection—would go on to embody the kingdom citizenship He describes in these three chapters. The Sermon on the Mount shows us how to receive Jesus as our King, the one who came to perfectly fulfill the law of God in our place.
As you study this sermon, ask the Lord to show you how to live as someone who belongs in His kingdom even now, trusting in the finished work of Jesus, our King, to secure your citizenship forever.
Written by Russ Ramsey
Editor’s Note: You may notice that today’s reading is longer than the others. On this first day of the study, we are reading the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety. Each weekday that follows will include a smaller section of the sermon to allow for more focused study, along with supplementary passages for broader understanding and deeper engagement. We invite you to read along with us.