The Sermon on the Mount
Some time ago I began to undertake some personal studies of the "Sermon on the Mount." I thought I would outline the sermon, break it into various texts and subheadings, and maybe have a dozen pages. However, as I began to research some of the history of this sermon, I began to realize how deficient the church has been in their understanding of its true message.
I began to count all of the sayings of Christ spoken on the Mount that could be, and have been misinterpreted over the centuries. I stopped counting at 40, but the list could go on. For example: "Resist not evil…" Does this mean that I should let a man break into my home? "If a man sue thee…" Does this mean that I should automatically forfeit the case? "Lay not up treasure on earth…"Does this mean that I should not have a savings account? "If a man smite thee…" Does this mean that I should allow the thug to beat me up on the street?
What has made this sermon to appear to be so unattainable, is the imbalanced interpretation and teaching of its message. The Sermon on the Mount has been a subject of much controversy over the centuries. There have been those who insisted that it were to be taken literally – to the letter. That means, if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out! That means, if you need to pray, look for a closet.
There have been others who have contested that it can only be fulfilled by clerics. Many joined the monastic societies and orders because they felt that, that was the only way the sermon could be fulfilled. Still, others have embraced many strange and ambiguous interpretations.
One thing is sure; God’s people have suffered many needless afflictions and miseries because of an imbalanced perception of its true message: People have suffered criminal assaults, people have been victimized with unjust lawsuits, personal damages, not to mention condemnation and guilt. As the prophet said: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
The Sermon on the Mount is a message that never grows old but for the mature saint it grows mellower with age. We find a greater definition and distinction in this message as we mature In the Lord. The more that I understand the message – the more attainable (the more apprehendable) it becomes. It is with this thought in mind that I set forth this little commentary.
It is the Lord’s desire for His people to understand His ways. We are the New Covenant people. We are the people that should have the law written upon our hearts so that we too can teach the nations. May the Lord give us the grace to rightly divide and balance this beautiful message into our everyday life!
* This commentary thoroughly covers all 111 verses as found in Matthew, chapters 5-7.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. Daniel Caram is a part of the faculty of Zion Ministerial Institute in Waverly, New York. He has also traveled to numerous countries, teaching in Bible schools and seminars and has also authored seven other books, some of which are used in the curriculum of Zion Christian University. Rev. Caram and his wife Jane reside in Erie, Pennsylvania where they have pastored the Church of Mt Zion for over thirty years. Rev. Caram earned his Bachelor in Theology from Vision Christian Bible School and Seminary and his Master of Theological Studies from Zion Christian University.
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