Jesus noticed that the crowds were gathering, and lifting up his eyes to his disciples he said:
“Those who are poor in spirit are blessed because they have the kingdom of heaven. Those who are hungry are blessed, because they will be filled. Those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted. Those who are humble are blessed because they will inherit the world. Those who desire to be righteous are blessed because they will be satisfied. Those who show mercy are blessed, because mercy will be shown to them. Those whose hearts are pure are blessed because they will see God. Those who work for peace are blessed because they will be called the children of God. Those who are persecuted because of their righteousness are blessed because they already possess the kingdom of heaven.
Take note and be joyful when people persecute, exclude, and lie about you because you follow me, the Son of Man, because your heavenly reward is overflowing. Remember this is how their ancestors treated the prophets of long ago.”
MT 5:1-12, LK 6:20-23
“But it is unfortunate to be rich, because you already have everything you’re going to get. It is unfortunate to be satisfied with everything you have now, because you will soon feel the lack. It is unfortunate for those who think that now is a time to laugh, because you will soon be full of grief. It is unfortunate for you when everyone praises you, because this is the way their ancestors used to treat false prophets.
You are the light of the world
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. A lamp is meant to be used, so don’t hide it under a basket or a bed. Instead, put it on a stand so it can give light to all who are in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before everyone so that they may see all the good that you do and give glory to God because of it. The purpose of hidden things is that they be revealed. Don’t hide your light around others.”
MT 5:14-16, MK 4:21-22, LK 8:16-17, LK 11:33
Christ fulfills the Law
“Don’t think that I came to negate the Law of Moses or the words of the prophets. I did not come to negate them but to fulfill them. Mark my words: not a letter or even part of the letter of the Law will disappear until the reason for the Law is realized. Because of this, anyone who violates even the smallest commandment and teaches other people to do so will be in the lowest position in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever obeys and teaches the commandments will be seen as great in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.”
Murder begins in the heart
“The Law of Moses says ‘Do not murder,’ because if you do you will face judgment. But I tell you something more – even if you are angry with your brother without reason you will be subject to judgment. Even verbally abusing him and calling him names will get you brought into court. Cursing him will put you in danger of the fires of hell.
Therefore, if you are about to give your offering at the altar in the Temple and you recall that someone has something against you, leave your offering before the altar. First you have to go and make things right with him. Then you can come and make your offering. Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way to court, otherwise he might hand you over to the judge and then you’ll get thrown into prison. Trust me; you’ll be stuck in there until you pay every bit of the debt!”
MT 5:21-26, LK 12:57-59
Adultery begins in the heart
“The Law of Moses says ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I’m telling you something even deeper – anyone who even looks at a woman in a lustful way has committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Tell the truth
“The Law of Moses also says that you shall not break your vows – you must honor your vows to God. But I’m telling you something deeper – don’t make any vows! Don’t swear by heaven because it is God’s throne, and don’t swear by the earth because it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem because it is the city of David, our great king. Don’t even swear by your head, because you can’t change even a single one of your hairs white or black. Simply let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’. To say anything more than this is wrong.”
Love your enemies
“You’ve been taught the message ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I’m telling you something deeper – love your enemies and pray for people who persecute you. Bless anyone who curses you and ask for God’s blessing for those who mistreat you.
The Law of Moses says ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I’m telling you something deeper – don’t retaliate against someone who harms you. Instead, if someone slaps you on your cheek, turn and offer him the other one. If someone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your shirt as well. If someone demands that you carry a heavy burden for a mile – carry it two miles instead.
If someone asks you for anything, give them whatever they ask for. If someone wants to borrow something, let them have it. Even if they take your possessions away, don’t ask to get them back.
How does it help you if you are nice only to the people who are nice to you? Even sinful people can do that.
How does it help you if you are welcoming only to people who are nice to you? If you welcome only your friends, how are you doing anything different than everyone else? Even people who don’t believe in God do that.
How are you to be seen as different if you lend only to people who you expect to get something from? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. Instead, love your enemies, do what is right, and lend what you have, expecting nothing in return. Treat others the same way that you like to be treated.
By doing this you will reveal yourself to be children of your Father in heaven. God makes the sun shine on those who are evil as well as those are good, and God makes rain fall on the just and the unjust alike. He is compassionate to those who are ungrateful and evil. Your goal is to be perfect and merciful, just like God is perfect and merciful.”
MT 5:38-48, LK 6:27-36
How to pray
“Be careful not to do good deeds or give charity publicly so you will be noticed. If you do, you will lose your reward from your Father in heaven. Whenever you give anything to a poor person, don’t call attention to the fact like hypocrites do. They announce it in houses of worship and on the streets to call attention to themselves. Truly, that attention is the only reward they will get! Instead, when you help someone out, do it secretly so not even your left hand knows what your right hand is doing. Your Father who sees everything will reward you.
When you pray, don’t act like the hypocrites do, who make sure that they are noticed by standing in houses of worship and on street corners. That attention is all the reward they will get. Instead when you pray, go off by yourself, shut the door and pray to your Father secretly. Your Father who sees everything will reward you.
Don’t repeat the same prayers over and over again, like other people do. They think their prayers will be answered if they repeat them many times. Your Father in heaven knows what you need before you ask him.”
The Lord’s prayer
Jesus was praying, and when he was through, one of his disciples said to him “Lord, teach us how to pray, just like John taught his disciples.”
He said “You should pray like this: Heavenly Father, we give honor to your holy name. May your kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth just like it is done in heaven. Give us our bread for tomorrow, and forgive our faults in the same way that we forgive the faults of others. Do not cause us to be tempted, but instead rescue us from evil. The kingdom and power and glory are all yours eternally. Amen.”
MT 6:9-13, LK 11:1-4
“Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive everyone who has harmed you or done wrong to you, but if you don’t forgive them, your Father will not forgive you for everything that you’ve done wrong.
How to fast
“When you fast, don’t act like the hypocrites do. They make their faces look ugly and disfigured so that everybody notices that they are fasting. Mark my words: that is the only reward they will get!
When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look good so that no one will know that you are fasting except God, who knows everything. And God, who knows your heart and everything that you do, will reward you.”
Your eyes reveal your true nature
“Your eyes reveal what is inside you. They are the lamps of your body. If they have light within them, then that is a sign that your whole being is filled with light. If your eyes are filled with darkness, then it is proof that your whole being is filled with darkness. Be mindful of the light within you. If your whole being is filled with light, then your spirit will shine forth like a lamp does.”
LK 11:34-36, MT 6:22-23
Do not judge
How you treat others is how you will be treated. If you don’t judge or condemn people, you won’t be judged or condemned. Forgive, and you’ll be forgiven. Give, and you will get back more than you gave.
Why do you point out the speck in your brother’s eye, and miss the log in your own? You are a hypocrite to offer to take out the speck in his eye. How can you even see it, with that log in the way? First, fix yourself. Then you can help him.
LK 6:37-38, MK 4:24-25, MT 7:1-5, LK 6:41-42
Ask, seek, knock
Jesus said “Here’s one way to think about prayer. Suppose you went to your friend’s house at midnight and asked him for three loaves of bread because another friend of yours had come to your house and you didn’t have any food to offer him. This friend might say “Don’t bother me! It’s late, I’ve already locked my door and we’ve all gone to bed. I’m not going to get up and give you anything!” But even if he won’t do this favor for you because he’s your friend, he’ll do it if you keep knocking on the door. Your persistence will win the day, and you’ll get what you asked for.”
“So I say, keep asking and you’ll get what you asked for. Keep looking and you’ll find it. Keep knocking and the way will be opened to you. It is true that everyone who asks receives, everyone who looks finds, and for everyone who knocks the pathway is opened before them.
Who here would give a stone to his child instead of bread when he asks, or a snake instead of a fish? Would you give your child a scorpion instead of an egg? Of course not! If you, who are less than perfect, know enough to give good things to your children, then our perfect Father in heaven will give us even better things when we ask.
This sums up all the Law and the prophets – however you want others to treat you, you should treat them.”
MT 7:7-12, LK 11:9-13
The narrow gate
Jesus taught in every town he went through while on his way to Jerusalem. “Lord,” someone asked him, “will only a few people be saved?”
Jesus said “The only way to get into the kingdom of heaven is to enter through the narrow gate. Many people take the broad road and the wide gate, but those lead to destruction. The road that leads to life is difficult and the gate is narrow. Very few people find it. Many will try to enter heaven and be turned back. The owner of the house will get up and lock the door.
Then they will stand outside knocking, saying ‘Lord, open up! Let us in!’ And he will answer ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from here all you guilty people!’
Then they will say ‘We ate and drank with you and you taught in our towns!’ But he will say again ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from! Get away from me!’
Then there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets of the kingdom of God thrown into the outer darkness, except for the true disciples. Many will come from the east and west to take their places in the kingdom of God. Mark my words: some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.”
MT 8:11-12, MT 7:13-14, LK 13:22-30
A tree and its fruit
“You know trees by their fruit. Healthy trees make good fruit, and sick trees don’t. Likewise, is it possible to get grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Be on the watch for false teachers who pretend they are innocent sheep, when really they are dangerous wolves, eager to tear you apart.
What you have stored up in your heart determines what you say. The good man’s speech proves that he has goodness within him. An evil man is filled with poison and his words reflect that. Evil people are as dangerous as a nest of snakes. It isn’t possible for evil people to speak the truth.
When judgment day comes you will have to give account for every word you have spoken. What you say now affects your fate then. Either you will be justified by your words or you will be condemned, just like how a tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and burned.”
MT 12:33-37, MT 7:15-20, LK 6:43-45
Not all who say they follow me are saved
Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and ignore what I say? Calling on my name will not get you into heaven. Only someone who does the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven. On the day of judgment, many will say “Lord, we prophesied, did miracles, and drove out demons in your name.” Yet I will say, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you evildoers!”
Those who hear what I have to say and act upon it are like the man who built his house on a solid foundation of rock. When the storm comes with strong winds and buckets of rain, it crashes against the house, but the house stands firm because it is built on a solid foundation. Those who listen to my message and don’t act upon it are like the man who built his house on top of sand. When the storm came the house was completely destroyed.
Those who were listening to Jesus were completely amazed, because he spoke like a person with authority, not like one of their religious leaders.
MT 7:21-29, LK 6:46-49