The striking similarities and the diverse detail between the context of the Sermon on the Mount (Gen. 5-7) and the Sermon on the Plain (Lk. 6:20-49) have raised many questions. The possibility that these separate recordings could be from the same sermon, or they could be the same sermon given to a different audience at a different time.
The two accounts from Matthew and Luke will be analyzed and compared in this paper from literary and historical views. It is to inform of the background of the sermons and those who recorded them. Also to make aware the possibility that Matthew and Luke could have been at the same sermon, or rather Jesus gave the same basic sermon at different times with minor variations.
Both sermons begin with the recordings of the Beattitudes. The similarities are the most apparent between the two accounts of the Beatitudes. The beatitudes were given to those that followed the Lord's Ten Commandments to the fullest extent. In doing so, they received numerous blessings.
Matthew records nine beatitudes and among those, Luke recorded the first, second, fourth, and ninth. He also recorded four separate woes (curses or warnings of):
'But alas for you who are rich; you have had your time of happiness. Alas for you who are well fed now; you will go hungry. Alas for you who laugh now; you will mourn and weep. Alas for you when all speak well of you; that is how their fathers treated the false prophets' (Lk. 6:24-36 Ox.).
Following Luke's account of the sermon, the law of love proceeds the beatitudes. God's commands concerning love are given for application in our lives (Lk. 6:27-36 Ox.). Loving your enemies is a powerful command of the Lord. When the Lord uses the phrase 'love your enemies,' He does not mean to have a good feeling towards them but rather do good to them (Elwell, 814). Both accounts record the same examples of 'turning your cheek' and 'giving up your cloak.'
'But what I tell you is this: Do not resist those who wrong you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him the other also. If anyone wants to sue you and takes your shirt, let him have your cloak as well'(Matt. 5:39,40 Ox.).
'If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also; if anyone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well'(Lk. 6:29 Ox.).
God's command of judgement is evident in both Matthew and Luke. The outcome of judging others is that you will be judged in return.
'Do not judge, and you will not be judged. For as you judge others, so you will yourselves be judged, and whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you'(Matt. 7:1,2 Ox.).
Concerning judging others, God does not call us to not evaluate or use discrimination of others, but rather speaks against a superior and self righteous attitude. We may evaluate another only in the mindset that we are sinful and imperfect. The teaching of the Lord is given in Luke 6:41, 42 which states,
Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, with never a thought for the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you are blind to the plank in your own? You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's.'
Luke gives more detail of judgment concerning what we shall reap. He states, 'for the measure you give will be the measure you get back' (Lk.6:38b Ox.).
The warning of false prophets is given in Matthew 7:15-20 and in Luke 6:43-45. The example used for this warning is a tree and its fruit. A good tree does not give bad fruit, neither a bad tree gives good fruit (Lk.6:43a Ox.). Matthew and Luke both use the same examples of grapes and figs being picked from unwanted plants-thistles, briars, and thorns. Concerning false prophets, Matthew records, 'You will recognize them by their fruit.' False prophets are those who give the appearance of godliness, but on the inside they are full of evil. Preaching and even miracles are no such sign of being genuine.
Luke records only one more teaching of Jesus following the warning of the false prophets. The teaching is about those who know the Lord on a personal basis do not follow what the Lord says. Luke records the following, 'Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' ' and never do what I tell you?' (Lk. 6:46 Ox.). Jesus gives the example of two different men building their houses. The one who ...
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