17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye’, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[c] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
The Sermon on the Plain
Some have said that the content or the location of the Sermon on the Mount (Mtt 5-7) and the Sermon on the Plain, here, mean that the Bible is full of contradictions and errors. Luke and Matthew do not put the teaching in the same order and they do not have exactly the same content, but the content is very similar. If we accept the Bible to be true, we can assume that Jesus used the same content a number of times. This means that he had a prepared core of information that he thought was important and he added to it or took away from it as the context demanded. This is a blow for those preachers who think that the Spirit has to give them a fresh word from start to finish at every location. The Spirit does inspire things that are set in rock as well as things that are written in sand. There are some core truths about the plight of the poor and the disenfranchised that Jesus wanted to communicate through Beattitudes to people all over Israel. He repeatedly told people that his word was a firm foundation upon which to build. He often warned the rich about the seduction of their riches.
This passage also hints at the importance of repetition. I had a student once who was resistant to read Genesis because he had read it before. Jesus’ disciples are hearing this core teaching multiple times as they walk around Palestine with him. It is being drilled in their brains. However, as we know, they didn’t really understand its full implications until Jesus rose again.
So, will you slowly digest this teaching? Will you read it and re-read it? Will you let it warn you about your self-righteous position of privilege? Will you let it comfort you in your pain of poverty and isolation? Sit with it a while whether you are on a mount or on a plain and let Jesus repeat one more time what he has told you before.
Jesus, let me hear your words until they become part of me. Let me live out your plan for the world by digesting.
- Where is the sermon delivered?
- To whom is it delivered?
- How does it compare to Matthew 5-7?
- What teaching from this passage particularly resonates with you?
- How could you let Jesus’ teaching touch you more repeatedly?