The Sermon on the Mount (Part One)

21 Aug

The Sermon on the Mount

A Note to the Reader...

It is highly advised to follow the notes and not to skip them as I have spent much time in preparing them.  They in essence are the framework and contain many of the justifications from which these but rough points have been attained.  This is just a preview of the work I have been working on for years and is finally coming to the surface.  This study, in its entirety will be published as a “page” on the sidebar of this website when it is completed.  Until then, every verse will receive its own post and new notes will be added keeping the current numbering system.  Some places will be left blank (as can be seen in this first post) as often there is more that I would like to write but can’t (for some particular reason or another).  This is unfortunate but necessary, mainly due to some taxing, yet irreversible time restrictions and other such limitations (often self-imposed), such as how much I can type at one time without getting sick and other weaknesses of the human experience.  Thank you for your time, thoughtfulness and comments in advance, and may God richly bless you.

John Mark Butzu

Verse One:

“Now having seen the crowds, He went up into the mountain, and after He had sat down, His disciples came to Him.”  (Analytical Literal Bible Translation)

This is a very interesting verse.  The first part of this passage reads: “Now having seen the crowds…”  (please see note 1).  As a pastor, the first thing I would have wanted to do if I saw crowds would be to run to them and proclaim the good news.  But Jesus had another thought in mind.

  • “He went up into the mountain.”

Scripture indicates that Jesus often went up into a mountain to be alone.  This was his customary experience since he was of age to be alone with the heavenly Father.  It really didn’t matter where he went to pray, but for sure mountains were a very real and logical place for holy men and women of God to go and commune with the one that they loved and wanted to be around.  Moses and Elijah are just two of the many wonderful examples of such people who the Bible actually records that chose to pray a safe distance away from the people they were destined to rule over (at least in the spirit) on the sides or tops of such places.  What better way for a prophet or watchman to get alone with God than to sit on the beautiful mountainous landscapes of Palestine that overlooked the beauty of God’s wonderful creation and pray of his or her people.  This interpretation /suggestion/nuance is often overlooked and skipped over when read but is in my estimation crucial to the text of Matthew 5-8, otherwise known as the Sermon on the Mount.

  • Next:  It was only after he was “ready” (or “set” KJV)  that his disciples came to him.  (please see note 2)

This also I found to be very interesting especially in light of the comment above.  Let me quote from the Jewish New Testament Commentary of which I am a huge fan:  “The English word “disciple” fails to convey the richness of a relationship between a rabbi and his “talmidim” (please see note 3).  These followers, or talmidim “wholeheartedly gave themselves over to their teachers (though not in a mindless way, as happens today in some cults).  The essence of the relationship was one of trust in every area of living, and its goal was to make the “talmid” (see note 4) like his rabbi [in this case Jesus] (please see note 5) in knowledge, wisdom and ethical behavior.”  Sometime we just have to go back to the original language folks!

Notes:

  1. All scripture has been carefully selected.  Unless otherwise indicated, all Biblical quotations been taken from the Analytical Literal Translation Bible.
  2. The Greek word for “set”  is “kathazo” and means much more than to just sit down.  I believe that Jesus needed the space to be able to pray away from his disciples and to recharge his natural energies as well as his spirit before delivering one of the greatest sermons ever preached.  Allthough Jesus was God, he became a man for our sakes, and thus needed to pray like anyone else.
  3. “Talmidim” is the Hebrew word for disciple.
  4. “Talmid” is the plural form of Talmidim, above.
  5. Brackets (hence [, ])  have been used to add my own thoughts within a direct quotation.
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