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What does the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew's gospel in The New Testament, provide as Jesus' teachings about the Jewish law and its importance?

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Pauline Sheehan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Sermon on the Mount from chapter 5 of Matthew's gospel, makes it clear that the "kingdom of Heaven" is not something to be taken lightly. Jewish law professes that observing God's laws is a requirement for all and, although some laws may appear harsh, being merciful stands at the heart of all decisions "because I am merciful."(Ex. 22.27) Recognising the difference between right and wrong and preventing the manipulation of circumstances is central to Jewish teaching and, in The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes no excuses for bad behavior. There is no distinction between who may be worthy in the Sermon on the Mount as, it appears, all deserve the same treatment.

On delivering The Ten Commandments as set out in The Old Testament, the people were afraid but Moses assured them that the purpose of the commandments was "to test you and make you keep on obeying him, so that you will not sin."(Ex.20.20)The Sermon on the Mount is a reinforcement of this and intended to remind the people that there is no easy solution in following the laws and that sacrifice is necessary. For a Jew, to turn the other cheek, is far more than would ever have been expected but God's laws have always required the extraordinary from the Jews so this is a culmination of Jewish teaching." long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be doe away with..."(Matt 5.18) 

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