The Sermon on a Mountain: the Beatitudes
1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them:
3“Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
4Blessed are those who mourn.
They will be comforted.
5Blessed are those who are gentle.
They will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s approval.
They will be satisfied.
7Blessed are those who show mercy.
They will be treated mercifully.
8Blessed are those whose thoughts are pure.
They will see God.
9Blessed are those who make peace.
They will be called God’s children.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you,
lie, and say all kinds of evil things about you because of me.
12Rejoice and be glad because you have a great reward in heaven!
The prophets who lived before you were persecuted in these ways.
God’s People Make a Difference in the World
(Mark 4:21–23; Luke 11:33)
13“You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.
14“You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. 15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house. 16In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Jesus Fulfills the Old Testament Scriptures
17“Don’t ever think that I came to set aside Moses’ Teachings or the Prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to make them come true. 18I can guarantee this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear, neither a period nor a comma will disappear from the Scriptures before everything has come true. 19So whoever sets aside any command that seems unimportant and teaches others to do the same will be unimportant in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches what the commands say will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20I can guarantee that unless you live a life that has God’s approval and do it more faithfully than the experts in Moses’ Teachings and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus Talks about Anger
21“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Never murder. Whoever murders will answer for it in court.’ 22But I can guarantee that whoever is angry with another believer #5:22 Some manuscripts and translations add “without a cause.” will answer for it in court. Whoever calls another believer an insulting name will answer for it in the highest court. Whoever calls another believer a fool will answer for it in hellfire.
23“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember there that another believer has something against you, 24leave your gift at the altar. First go away and make peace with that person. Then come back and offer your gift.
25“Make peace quickly with your opponent while you are on the way to court with him. Otherwise, he will hand you over to the judge. Then the judge will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. 26I can guarantee this truth: You will never get out until you pay every penny of your fine.
About Sexual Sin
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Never commit adultery.’ 28But I can guarantee that whoever looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart.
29“So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have all of it thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have all of it go into hell.
31“It has also been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice.’ 32But I can guarantee that any man who divorces his wife for any reason other than unfaithfulness makes her look as though she has committed adultery. Whoever marries a woman divorced in this way makes himself look as though he has committed adultery.
33“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Never break your oath, but give to the Lord what you swore in an oath to give him.’ 34But I tell you don’t swear an oath at all. Don’t swear an oath by heaven, which is God’s throne, 35or by the earth, which is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, which is the city of the great King. 36And don’t swear an oath by your head. After all, you cannot make one hair black or white. 37Simply say yes or no. Anything more than that comes from the evil one.
Love Your Enemies
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I tell you not to oppose an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well. 40If someone wants to sue you in order to take your shirt, let him have your coat too. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him. 42Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don’t turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. 45In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust. 46If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! 47Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that! 48That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.