Thoughts from the Sermon on the Mount …
Do we need to follow rules in order for God to accept us?
If not, do the rules matter at all?
Didn’t Jesus fight back against the rules and traditions of His day?
If the rules are important, which ones are most important? What happens to those who disobey?
It is popular today for people to think of Jesus as a rebel, going against the religious establishment. He is often pictured as fighting against the religious leaders and standing His ground against the ruling Romans.
Even in Jesus’ day, people expected that He was against the Law. He did not show respect for the religious leaders, nor their large set of traditions. Surely he must be trying to turn people from the Law, wasn’t he?
It is important to remember that Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount to His disciples (see here). Jesus started by showing that being a true disciple is the way to true blessings and happiness (see here). He then began to teach about the Law, and what it means to keep the rules in God’s sight.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.