Having set the stage of Jesus’ redemptive reality, Matthew now begins to share the substance of Jesus’ redemptive reality. The “Sermon on the Mount” is the first of five discourses Matthew records throughout his book.
The context for Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” is created by three preceding moments: (a) Jesus’ proclamation to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”; (b) Jesus’ healings which demonstrate his kingly authority to establish God’s kingdom reality on Earth; (c) Jesus’ discipleship call for the fishermen to follow him by participating with him in his kingdom reality.
The context for the “Sermon on the Mount” is the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven; the contents for the “Sermon on the Mount” reveal how we participate in and give witness to that kingdom reality.
“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them…”
As he speaks, the redemptive reality of God’s reign begins to be formed in their minds. The words that flow from his mouth form a way of life afresh with the freedom of his grace and the healing of his holiness; upon this path is a King who reigns over us, a Messiah who walks with us.
In this sermon, Jesus speaks with us, reveals the blessedness of his reality, teaches us to pray, calls us to trust, implores us to forgive, shows us how to live and love. We learn how to perceive ourselves in relation to the redemptive work he is doing in the world, how we are to redemptively interact with all people, how to live out a righteousness that consists of the character of Christ.
In this sermon, Jesus reveals what life as a citizen of God’s kingdom actually looks like and how our participation gives witness to what will bless the world.