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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Men's Study @ Harvest - "Introduction: The Sermon On the Mount" (Part 1)

What a long Bible study over the last two weeks for the Men's Valor ministry at Harvest! We studied the "Sermon On the Mount" (Matthew 5-7). It is fair to say this is the greatest sermon by Jesus Christ, and by far, the greatest sermon in comparison to all others in redemptive history. During the next few entries, I am going to break up these notes into separate posts so they will be easier for me to write, and easier for you to read!

On a side note, it is fascinating to notice how people have used, borrowed, embraced, or alluded to different parts of the Sermon On the Mount throughout modern history to preach "change" in their culture and country. The principles taught by Jesus have been understood and misunderstood as well. Many of his words have been taken out of context being used, misused, or abused for tolerance and intolerance ideology. As it goes for any of Jesus' teachings, if it is not understood correctly (that is biblically), then it is fallacious and misleading. However, if Jesus' teachings are understood biblically, then it is indeed a powerful truth-centered revolutionary ideology which is measured on transforming personal hearts, minds, and souls of men and women. Therefore, I want to share with you some of those powerful truth-centered biblical insights from the Sermon On the Mount that I learned from the men's study. Thus, I will share my notes on the OT in the Sermon On the Mount to help convey the theological principles and faith-based practices of the new kingdom age of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Introduction - Matthew's Gospel as the Christian Pentateuch
I wanted to make a quick notable and debatable hermeneutic that has been important while studying the Sermon On the Mount. Within Matthew's Gospel, he focuses on five major teaching sections which are distinct discourses about the new kingdom age of salvation in Jesus Christ. They always begin and end with a narrative episode. These five teaching blocks of "sermonic material" push the narrative forward hinging on important Christological teachings and fulfillment (Here are the five major teaching sections: Matt. 5-7 [Sermon On the Mount]: Matt. 10 [Sending Out of the Apostles]; Matt. 13 [Kingdom Parables]; Matt 18 [Humility and Forgiveness]; Matt. 23-25 [Olivet Discourse]). Matthew did not make a mistake by including what we can call the "five sermons" by Jesus, and did not mistakenly place the Sermon On the Mount first in his gospel. It is possible to suggest the five discourses could be interpreted as a "Christian Pentateuch" without a specific polemical intention but allusion of fulfillment of the Jewish Pentateuch (you can read more about structure in Matthew from scholar R.T. France, "Structure of Matthew"). I put together a chart that showcases the five major teaching sections:

The New Kingdom of God in Matthew
The Five Sermons [Books] in Matthew
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 5:17, “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.”
1. The Foundation of the Kingdom

Matthew 5-7: The Sermon On the Mount
2. The Mission of the Kingdom

Matthew 10: The Sermon On Sending the Apostles
3. The Secret of the Kingdom

Matthew 13: The Sermon of Kingdom Parables
4. The People of the Kingdom

Matthew 18: The Sermon of Forgiveness and Humility
5. The Future of the Kingdom

Matthew 23-25: The Sermon of the Olivet Discourse

It is skeptical to suggest this hermeneutic was intended to be a polemic against the Jews and the Law because Jesus clearly states and affirms he came to save the Jews and fulfill the law (not destroy it). Therefore, it is possible the original audience would have read Matthew and noticed the five discourses and associated it with the five books in Pentateuch because of the multiple quotations and fulfillments from the Torah by Jesus.

Canonical Patterns, Structure, and Resemblance of the Old Testament Through Jesus’ Five Sermons in Matthew’s Gospel
The Gospel of Matthew
The Old Testament Canon
Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7)

Sinai Revelation (Exodus)
Mission of the Twelve (Matt. 10)

Preparation for Conquest (Deuteronomy)
Kingdom Parables (Matt. 13)

Wisdom of Solomon (Proverbs/Ecclesiastes)
Eschatological Judgment (Matt. 23-25)

Babylonian Exile (Jeremiah/Ezekiel)­­­­

It is not definitive, but it could be likened to it due to the fact Matthew's Gospel is more of a law-fulfilling narrative to showcase Christianity as a fulfillment of OT messianic hopes. Therefore the patterns, structure, and resemblance of the OT in Jesus' five sermons do not point to fulfilling just the Pentateuch, but rather all point to Jesus as the Messiah who has come to fulfill all Scripture pertaining to himself (cf. Luke 24:27; John 5:39).

Introduction - The Typological Structure of Matthew's Gospel
In Matthew, there are many allusions to Jesus fulfilling the OT. However, there are larger, more literary structures that have been specifically emphasized within the narrative to showcase Jesus greater than the entire Law and the Prophets, and Moses who was the greatest prophet of Israel. Throughout Matthew's Gospel, Jesus' story is contrasted with stories in the OT, and detailed episodes of Moses in many ways. Here are some of the examples:

Possible Explorations, Allusions, and Fulfillments in Matthew’s Gospel
With the Five Books of the Pentateuch
(Jesus as Israel: The Typological Structure of Matthew’s Gospel, by Peter Leithart)
Matt. 1:1, genealogy of Jesus

Gen. 2:4; 5:1, genealogy of Adam
Matt. 1:1-17, descendant of Abraham

Gen. 12-26
Matt. 1:18-25, Joseph has a dream

Gen. 37, Joseph (son of Jacob) has a dream
Matt. 2:1-12, Magi visit Jesus

Gen. 43-47, nations visits Joseph
Matt. 2:13-15, Herod summons to kill infants

Ex. 1-2, Pharaoh summons to kill infants
Matt. 2:14, Jesus is rescued and flees

Ex. 2, Moses is rescued and flees
Matt. 2:19-23, Jesus returns to Israel

Ex. 3-4, Moses returns to Egypt
Matt. 3:1-12, John announces judgment

Ex. 5-12, Aaron/Moses announces judgment
Matt. 3:13-17, Jesus is baptized with water

Ex. 14, Israel crosses through water
Matt. 4:1-11, Jesus travels to the wilderness and is tempted on a mountain
Ex. 17-19, Israel travels to the wildness and is tempt while on their way to a mountain
Matt. 4:18-22, Jesus calls his first disciples

Ex. 18, Moses calls his first rulers
Matthew 5:1-7:29, Jesus gives his instructions of the law on a mountain
Ex. 19-24, Moses gives his instructions of the law on a mountain

Below is a chart showing how Matthew's Gospel follows the same narrative of Moses. However, it showcases how Jesus is greater than Moses from his birth, baptism, temptation, lawgiving, authority, transfiguration, and commissioning.

The “New Moses Motif” in the Typological Structure of Matthew’s Gospel
(The New Moses, by Dale Allison)
Matt. 1-2, infancy narrative of Jesus

Ex. 1:1-2:10, infancy narrative of Moses
Matt. 3:13-17, baptism of water signified Jesus as the ultimate authority of Israel

Ex. 14:10-13, crossing of water signified Moses as the ultimate authority of Israel
Matt. 4:1-11, wilderness temptation of Jesus
Ex. 16:1-17:7, wilderness temptation of Moses
Matt. 5-7, lawgiving on a mountain by Jesus
Ex. 19:1-24:18, lawgiving on a mountain by Moses
Matt. 11:25-30, promised rest by God from Jesus (reciprocal knowledge of God)
Ex. 33:1-23, promised rest by God from Moses (reciprocal knowledge of God)
Matt. 17:1-9, transfiguration of Jesus on a mountain
Ex. 34:29-35, transfiguration of Moses’ face coming down a mountain
Matt. 28:16-20, the commissioning of the disciples as successors of Jesus
Deut. 31:7-9; Josh. 1:9, the commissioning of Israel leaders as successors of Moses

Here is a picture contrasting Moses (left) and Jesus (right) teaching on a mountain. Matthew is contrasting both figure to show how Jesus is indeed the new prophet and lawgiver who has come to fulfill the law that was once given by the former prophet and lawgiver Moses.

This post is a real definition of digging deeper. It took me forever to post this, but because I created an research paper on this topic. I hope you enjoyed reading this information and engaged this wealth of information as I did. I love learning about the Word of God!

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