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Lesson #7 The Sermon on the Mount, Part 2.

(Matthew 5: 17-48)

In Lesson #6 we joined the crowd on the hillside of the Mt. of Beatitudes as Jesus began his brilliant expository teaching, The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the first of five Great Discourses that comprise the core of Matthews narrative structure. In Lesson #6 we focused on Jesus clever and memorable introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, nine counter-intuitive statements that repeat in pattern and sound: Blessed is A, for they shall be B; blessed is C, for they shall be D; and so on. And we learned that with blessedness comes responsibility: You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world.

In Lesson #7 we move from Jesus clever and memorable introduction to the main body of his teaching: six propositions that exceed the Law. The six propositions echo the repetitive structure and sound that we saw in the Beatitudes: You have heard it said A, but I tell you B; you have heard it said C, but I tell you D and so on. The six propositions do not abolish the Law; rather, they take us into the inner dynamics of the Law, fulfilling and transforming it.

Recall the Gospel according to Matthews overall mirrored chiastic structure


A Narrative: Jesus as Messiah, Son of God (1-4) Minor discourse: John the Baptist identifies the authority of Jesus (3:7-12) B Great Discourse #1: Demands of true discipleship (5-7) [SERMON ON THE MOUNT] C Narrative: The supernatural authority of Jesus (8-9) D Great Discourse #2: Charge and authority of disciples (10) E Narrative: Jews reject Jesus (11-12) F Great Discourse #3: Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven (13) E Narrative: Disciples accept Jesus (14-17) D Great Discourse #4: Charge and authority of church (18) C Narrative: Authority and invitation (19-22) B Great Discourse #5: Judgment on false discipleship (23-25) Narrative: Jesus as Messiah, suffering and vindicated (26-28) Minor discourse: Jesus identifies the authority of the church (28:18-20)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Departure: Jesus supernatural birth (1: 182: 23); Initiation: Jesus baptism by John (3: 1-17); First Trial: Jesus tempted by Satan (4: 1-11); Movement from the familiar: Jesus relocates to Capernaum (4: 12-17); Choosing Companions: Jesus gathers his disciples, his inner circle of companions (4: 18-22); 6. The Journey begins: Jesus travels throughout Galilee teaching, preaching and healing (4: 23-18: 35); 7. Final Trial: Jesus leaves Galilee and heads for Jerusalem and the cross (19: 120-34); 8. Entering enemy territory: Jesus Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem (21: 117); 9. Engaging the enemy: Jesus escalating encounters with the religious leaders (21: 18-25: 46); 10. The climatic battle: The Passion (26: 1-27: 66); 11. Victory: Resurrection (28: 1-15); and 12. Reward: The Great Commission (28: 16-20).

1. 2. 3. 4.

A clever and memorable introduction (5: 2-16) Six propositions that exceed the law (5: 17-48) Six concrete actions that implement the Law (6: 1 7: 6) A dramatic call to action (7: 7-29).

Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simon Bolivar orchestra of Venezuela at Carnegie Hall

J.S. Bach, opening Praeludium from Partita No. 1, BMV 825, 1st edition, 1731.

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

The Prologue (Matthew 5: 17-20)

. . . not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass away from the law, until all things have taken place (Matthew 5: 18).

1.
2.

3.

4.

More narrowly, the Law refers to the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy. More narrowly yet, the Law refers to the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20: 1-17 and repeated in Deuteronomy 5: 6-21. In the 3rd century A.D. the Jewish sage Rabbi Simlai mentioned in a sermon (Talmud Makkot 23b) that Torah enumerates 613 specific mitzvot, or commandments. The great medieval Spanish sage, Maimonides (A.D. 11251204), codified the commandments in Sefer Hamitzvot (Book of Commandments).

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

Bartolomeo Manfredi, Cain Kills Abel (oil on canvas), c. 1600. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

The Hebrew verb retzach in Exodus 20: 13 and Deuteronomy 5: 17 has a wide range of meaning in Scripture including: to break, to smash, and to slay, kill and murder.

Context determines how retzach is translated.


In the context of the Ten Commandments retzach refers to:

The unlawful, premeditated taking of another persons life.

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

Kevissimo [Kevin Rolly], The Story of Judah and Tamar (oilgraph on wooden panel). Created in performance at Black Cat Gallery, Los Angeles, June 2009.

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael (oil on canvas), 1657. Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

Six Propositions that Exceed the Law


(Matthew 5: 17-48)
Prologue (5:17-20) Proposition #1: Proposition #2: Proposition #3: Proposition #4: Proposition #5: Proposition #6: Murder (5:21-26) Adultery (5:27-30) Divorce (5:31-32) Oaths (5:33-37) Conflict (5:38-42) Love (5:43-48)

So be perfect, just as your heavenly father is perfect (Matthew 5: 48).

Perfect = Greek, telos. We get the English word telescope from telos. It carries the sense of the end goal or completion.

Bravo, Matthew!

1. As Christians we are told we are saved by Grace, not by works of Law. So why does the Prologue to the Six Propositions emphasize the Law? 2. The 1st proposition states: You shall not kill. Is this a blanket condemnation of all killing, or are Jesus words limited to a specific context? 3. The 2nd proposition says: If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it our and throw it away. Should this be taken literally? 4. Likewise, should the 5th proposition about retaliation be read literally. If not, how should it be read? 5. What does Jesus mean when he says, be perfect?

Copyright 2014 by William C. Creasy


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