Jesus’ Sermon On The Mount: A Brief Overview

The famous Sermon on the Mount is a collection of beautiful spiritual and moral teachings attributed to Jesus Christ, found in the Gospel of Matthew.

Jesus’s revolution over two thousand years ago transformed the world like nothing else. His words are so eternally powerful that people have and continue to entrust their lives to Him. As people followed Jesus’ radical teachings, their minds, hearts, and perspectives changed. Perhaps one of His most famous preachings was the Sermon on the Mount. 

Let’s take a look at what Jesus said and how it shook the world.

What is the Sermon on the Mount?

Jesus’ ministry began shortly after He was baptized by John the Baptist. He then entered solitude and fasted for 40 days to prepare for what His Father had called Him to do. 

The Sermon on the Mount, which can be found in the Gospel of Matthew, happened pretty early in His ministry. Jesus has been preaching to His disciples and small groups while in Galilee. As more and more people heard about Him and His radical teachings, crowds started to follow Him everywhere. 

Jesus prepared the sermon Himself, and this is known to be one of His most extended sermons. The exact location where it happened was not written, but it was most likely in the northwest part of Capernaum. Jesus could not have chosen a more beautiful spot, as it was preached on one of the hills with a panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee. 

Are you wondering why Jesus specifically preached the Sermon on the Mount? It is for the very same reason why He lived the life we should have lived, why He died the death that we should have died, and why He resurrected after three days. 

The reason is love. His great love for His people motivated Him to do what He did, and it was something only Jesus could do. The Sermon on the Mount was addressed to the people of that time but was undoubtedly written for all generations, including ours.

What is the Sermon on the Mount All About?

Try to imagine that you were there. Feel the grass. Experience both the heat of the day and the cool breeze of the wind. Enjoy the view. Be eager to hear the preacher and be excited about the show that is about to unfold. Be curious about what you will learn and what people will talk about right after.

The Sermon on the Mount consists of three main topics: the Beatitudes, Salt and Light, and Jesus’ teachings.

The Beatitudes

Jesus did not open with a joke. He opened His mouth and started speaking words of wisdom, encouragement, and truth. Things that the people at that time had never heard of. They are called the Beatitudes. 

Here are some important points on what each of the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 means:

The poor in Spirit. Being poor in Spirit means knowing and admitting that you need the help of God in everything. That without Him, you are nothing. This becomes a blessing because God can then pour out His strength and power to enable us to fulfill His purposes (Matthew 5:3)

Those who are mourning. He was not just addressing those who lost loved ones. He was pertaining to every sinner who mourns for their separation from God and longs for His forgiveness and healing. (Matthew 5:4)

The meek. Being meek does not mean not being able to defend yourself. It means relying on God’s strength, and not your own, to make things happen. (Matthew 5:5)

Those who seek righteousness. This one talks about people who want to see the reflection of God’s character in how others live their lives. (Matthew 5:6)

The merciful. Jesus is the ultimate proof of how merciful God truly is. We can also show mercy towards others as we receive mercy from God. (Matthew 5:7)

The pure in heart. Jesus emphasized that purity of heart is far more important than the rituals that people do for God. (Matthew 5:8)

The peacemakers. Rather than being a troublemaker, why not promote peace by sharing the message of Jesus the Messiah? If you do, then there is no better reward than being called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

The persecuted. People will say and do hurtful things to you because of your faith. But Jesus said to rejoice because the kingdom of heaven is yours. (Matthew 5:10)

Salt and Light

Jesus addressed the Sermon on the Mount to His disciples and everyone in the crowd, but His words also apply to all those who follow and believe in Him today. He said that we are now the salt of the earth because we are His followers. 

If so, what are we good for? Like salt, we preserve what is good in this world. Like salt, we make things in this life taste better by bringing the joy and peace that comes from God. He also said that we are the light of this world. We can all agree that one cannot hide a city that is set on a hill, right? It makes total sense to light up a lamp and put it on a stand rather than putting it under a basket where no one can see the light. 

If you share your light or your good works with others, then people will have an opportunity to wonder, know, and praise God. That’s what Jesus does. He shares His light to the world and gives glory to the Father in Heaven.


The other teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount focus on two main things: our relationship with God and our relationship with other people. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us the spiritual disciplines of praying and fasting. Contrary to the practice of the Pharisees, we are encouraged to pray in private and earnestly from a heart of worship. There is no point in mindlessly repeating the same words over and over. Jesus gives us an example of how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer. He set an example Himself by fasting for 40 days in preparation for His ministry. 

It is beautiful how Jesus teaches us to pray, fast, and not be anxious about our needs. He tells us not to lay up treasures for ourselves here on earth. This is not our eternal home, and while we’re here, there is no need to worry because God provides for us. How do treasures on earth and treasures in heaven differ? Clearly, one is perishable or destructible, and the other is not. One can be lost or stolen, and the other cannot. It’s that simple.

Relationship with God

When we lay up treasures in heaven, nothing or no one can ever take them away. We will have them for eternity. What am I talking about? I’m talking about glimpses of God in your life. Those are treasures that will last forever. No moth or rust can destroy them. No thieves can break in and steal them. Those are the best kinds of treasures to pray for. 

Earthly treasures are temporary, but loving them has eternal consequences. Jesus sternly warns us that we cannot serve both God and money. We can only serve and love one. Only one deserves to be your master – that’s God. Money is but one of many other masters out there who neither give you true freedom nor give you eternal life. 

Our knowledge and relationship with God are very important as this will determine our beliefs, choices, and actions. When we have the right foundation, we will have the right heart and bear fruit in the form of good works. 

Jesus warned about false prophets by comparing them to trees. One can tell if a tree is bad or good by checking its fruit. If their teachings are inconsistent with Jesus’s, they will be judged in the future. Many people will claim to be doing mighty works for God. However, God will not acknowledge them if they are not truly in Christ. This explains why Jesus spent ample time teaching about having a relationship with our heavenly Father.

Relationship with others

Our relationship with God will overflow into our relationship with others. The wisdom of Jesus corrected so many misunderstandings of the Old Testament and even in the present times. He goes on to explain how anger is just like murder, and looking lustfully at a woman is like adultery. 

We are to look at the log in our own eyes before we look at the speck in another’s eyes. 

It is impossible for us to accomplish these things on our own. We need to rely on God’s grace. Doing so is like entering the narrow gate of Jesus, where things are hard, and only a few can find. Though it is difficult, it leads to eternal life. Most people would instead take the easy way, but it ends in eternal destruction away from God.

Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Law

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount also emphasizes how He came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. Knowing all His teachings shows us that He has set the bar so high that no one can reach it. No one can perfectly follow and practice the law except Jesus, who is perfect and blameless.

The Authority of Jesus

Jesus is the only one who can speak with authority about these things because He is God Himself. The people were amazed and drawn in by this gentle yet firm authority. Although His teachings were piercing and radical, He delivered them with such overwhelming love that people continued to follow and believe in Him. This starkly contrasts with the heart and attitude of the Pharisees, who only sought their own gains. 

The Beauty of Jesus

Jesus is not only the authority but the very fulfillment of the law. Who else on earth can obey all the laws and principles in the Old Testament? Only Jesus. He is everything the prophets declared the Messiah would be. He is the one who perfectly fits the Beatitudes – poor in Spirit, meek, merciful, peacemaker, pure in heart, and persecuted, to the point of death, for righteousness’ sake. This is the beauty of Jesus – the spotless lamb sacrificed for our sins.

Why is the Sermon on the Mount so Important?

As mentioned earlier, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount was preached pretty early in His ministry. It was crucial teaching for the original audience, who grew up listening to scribes and teachers who did not understand God’s law. Jesus had to unearth and uproot the wrong doctrines in their hearts in order to plant the seed of the true Good News. 

Their Pharisaic way of life was full of legalism and reliance on their own righteousness. By preaching the law and the beatitudes, Jesus opened their eyes to the truth that they can never fulfill complete obedience to all the commandments. They were bound to fail because they were never designed to perfect it. Thus, they needed a Saviour. 

How is the Sermon on the Mount Relevant to Believers Today?

The message in the Sermon on the Mount is so profound that it applies to you today and to every generation. It contains detailed instructions on how to seek God and live a life that pleases Him. We still face the same temptations to rely on our own righteousness. 

We still, at times, think it is our good works that save us when the truth is good works are a fruit of our salvation. The Sermon on the Mount is a beautiful reminder that on our own, we won’t be able to meet God’s standards. It is only by Jesus’ blood and righteousness that we are made right in the eyes of God.

Jesus chose to end the Sermon on the Mount with a parable that shows how important it is to have the right kind of foundation in life. If you truly believe in Jesus, then obedience to Him will be your perfect response. When Jesus finished, the people were astonished. Unlike no other scribe or rabbi they’ve encountered or heard of, Jesus possesses divine authority because He is God. 

In Summary

The Sermon on the Mount exemplifies how Jesus breathed life into our lost souls with His words. He lived a countercultural life, taught radical principles, and led us to the One True God. Everything He taught in these three chapters renewed minds and shaped hearts from 2000 years ago until now. It is valuable to learn and apply these things in our lives, as it is for our good and His glory. 

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Alex Shute
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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