March 31 – Mountaintops – Mount of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount)

Read Matthew 5:17-48

It’s so easy to view Jesus as the abolisher or fixer ofsermon mount the Law. In the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus declares that that is far from the truth. The Law of God is perfect because the God of the Law is perfect. Jesus has come to fulfill it, not destroy it.

Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This would have been devastating for the audience to hear. If you asked any Jew in that day who was the most godly, righteous person they knew, they would name a Pharisee without a doubt.

Jesus continues with a pattern of “You have heard it said…but I tell you…” Jesus is not referring to hearing from the Old Testament, but hearing from the Pharisees and religious teachers of the day. The Pharisees added hundreds of rules on top of the Law of God to make sure that they kept it. In essence, Jesus is saying, “The holiness that the Pharisees require is extremely difficult for you – basically impossible, but the holiness that God requires is even more difficult – literally impossible.”

He showed that the Law was more than just having enough self-control to not do an outward sin. God needs even our mind and heart to be perfect! Jesus preached that you aren’t innocent of murder if you hate someone and just haven’t physically killed them. You aren’t innocent of adultery if you have a lustful thought and just haven’t physically acted on it. Jesus isn’t abolishing the Law and He is not adding to it either. He is demonstrating what it has meant all along.

The Pharisees looked at the Law and the perfection of God as doable with the right discipline and the right rules around it. They did not look at the Law of God as something so holy and unattainable that they have no other choice but to fall on their knees to repent and trust in Christ.

The Pharisees and many Jews were looking to the WRONG MOUNTAIN for justification for their sins. Sinai was not the mountain from which salvation came, it was on Calvary where the only One to ever completely keep the Law died so that we could have His righteousness.

Today, people fall into the same trap.

Where are you looking to?

Nathan Harley

Baucham, Voddie, Jr. “The Law of God In Light of the Kingdom.” Sermon, Grace Family Baptist Church, Houston, TX, April 12, 2009.

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