Jesus’ Sermon on the Hillside
1One day Jesus saw a vast crowd of people gathering to hear him, so he went up the slope of a hill and sat down. With his followers and disciples spread over the hillside, 2Jesus began to teach them:
3“What happiness comes to you when you feel your spiritual poverty! For theirs is the realm of heaven’s kingdom.
4“What delight comes to you when you wait upon the Lord! For you will find what you long for.
5“What blessing comes to you when gentleness lives in you! For you will inherit the earth.
6“How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness.
7“How satisfied you are when you demonstrate tender mercy! For tender mercy will be demonstrated to you.
8“What bliss you experience when your heart is pure! For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God.
9“How joyful you are when you make peace! For then you will be recognized as a true child of God.
10“How enriched you are when you bear the wounds of being persecuted for doing what is right! For that is when you experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom.
11“How ecstatic you can be when people insult and persecute you and speak all kinds of cruel lies about you because of your love for me! 12So leap for joy—since your heavenly reward is great. For you are being rejected the same way the prophets were before you.
13“Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your ‘saltiness’ be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled on by others.
14“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? 15And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. 16So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”
Fulfillment of the Law
17“If you think I’ve come to set aside the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets, you’re mistaken. I have come to fulfill and bring to perfection all that has been written. 18Indeed, I assure you, as long as heaven and earth endure, not even the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with until its purpose is complete. 19So whoever violates even the least important of the commandments, and teaches others to do so, will be the least esteemed in the realm of heaven’s kingdom. But whoever obeys them and teaches their truths to others will be greatly esteemed in the realm of heaven’s kingdom. 20For I tell you, unless your lives are more pure and full of integrity than the religious scholars and the Pharisees you will never experience the realm of heaven’s kingdom.”
21“You’re familiar with the commandment that the older generation was taught, ‘Do not murder or you will be judged.’ 22But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insults a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell.
23“So then, if you are presenting a gift before the altar in the temple and suddenly you remember a quarrel you have with a fellow believer, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar and go at once to apologize with the one who is offended. Then, after you have reconciled, come to the altar and present your gift. 25It is always better to come to terms with the one who wants to sue you before you go to trial, or you may be found guilty by the judge, and he will hand you over to the officers, who will throw you into prison. 26Believe me, you won’t get out of prison until you have paid the full amount!”
27“Your ancestors have been taught, ‘Never commit adultery.’ 28However, I say to you, if you look with lust in your eyes at the body of a woman who is not your wife, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. 29If your right eye seduces you to fall into sin, then go blind in your right eye! For you’re better off losing sight in one eye than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand entices you to sin, let it go limp and useless! For you’re better off losing a part of your body than to have it all thrown into hell.
31“It has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her legal divorce papers.’ 32However, I say to you, if anyone divorces his wife for any reason, except for infidelity, he causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
33“Again, your ancestors were taught, ‘Never swear an oath that you don’t intend to keep, but keep your vows to the Lord God.’ 34However, I say to you, don’t bind yourself by taking an oath at all. Don’t swear by heaven, for heaven is where God’s throne is placed. 35Don’t swear an oath by the earth, because it is the rug under God’s feet, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the Great King. 36And why would you swear by your own head, because it’s not in your power to turn a single hair white or black? But just let your words ring true. 37A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice. Anything beyond this springs from a deceiver.
38“Your ancestors have also been taught, ‘Take an eye in exchange for an eye and a tooth in exchange for a tooth.’ 39However, I say to you, don’t repay an evil act with another evil act. But whoever insults you by slapping you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 40If someone is determined to sue you for your coat, give him the shirt off your back as a gift in return. 41And should people in authority take advantage of you, do more than what they demand. 42Learn to generously share what you have with those who ask for help, and don’t close your heart to the one who comes to borrow from you.”
Love Your Enemies
43“Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’ 44However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. 45For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil. 46What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that? 47How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that? 48Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.”