Sunday, February 07, 2010

Structure of Matthew 5

The original "key verses" of the Sermon on the Mount, on which the entire sermon hangs but especially chapter 5, are 5:17-20:

"Do not think I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to destroy them but fulfill them... unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

The rest of chapter 5 plays this general statement out in its particulars. "You have heard... but I say to you." In other words, Jesus fufills the Law and the Prophets by giving the full story on things they have heard. Chapter 6 plays out what the sermon might mean by a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees.

Meanwhile, the Beatitutes and loose exhortations to be salt and light set the stage, set the feel for the sermon as a whole, introducing the emotional tone of the sermon, although not so much the ideological stage.


Marc said...

"loose exhortations to be salt and light"
Some, including N.T. Wright would argue that this vocation, to bless the world (as was the intention of Abraham's covenant), is THE mission of the church and THE point at which Israel failed to be faithful and not some optional nice thing to do if you can manage it.

Ken Schenck said...

Different discussion. I was talking about the literary structure of the Sermon on the Mount.