In Jesus’ great ‘Sermon on the Mount’, He claims to be divine. There are so many misunderstandings of Christ’s sermon. The most common misconception of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is viewing its content as centered around ethics and morality. I strongly disagree with any interpretation of Jesus’ sermon (Matt 5-7) that misses the point of Jesus’ person by focusing on the ethics and morality that Jesus taught. We should recognize the bedrock of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is Jesus’ divinity.
Let’s take a short walk through Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and identify His claims of divinity.
How Jesus Taught
“he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” -Matt 7:29
In Matthew 5:1-3, Jesus began the sermon on the subject of God’s kingdom, but not in the usual way of the religious teachers. Jesus’ entire sermon was delivered from a disposition of authority. He spoke as if His words were equal in authority to the Old Testament text (Matt 7:28-29). The Jewish scribe would never have spoken “as one having authority” because the scribe recognizes he has no authority and therefore appeals to the written Word of God (OT) as being absolutely authoritative.
This is important for us to note. Jesus did not teach like a scribe who appealed to divine authority. Jesus taught as one who had divine authority. Why? Jesus taught in this manner, not by accident, but intentionally. Jesus’ words were meant to be understood as the very words of God, because He is “true God from true God” as the Nicene Creed states.
For Jesus’ Sake
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” -Matt 5:11
Let’s turn our attention to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:10-12. Here, Jesus says those who belong to the Kingdom of God may or will be persecuted as the Old Testament prophets were before them. The divine claim of Jesus is clearly seen in how He connects the NT saints and OT saints persecution. Jesus’ claim is that the people of God’s kingdom would be persecuted for Jesus’ sake as were the prophets of old were persecuted for Jesus’ sake. How were the Old Testament prophets persecuted for Jesus’ sake? Weren’t they persecuted for the sake of YHWH? Yes, they were persecuted for God’s sake. That is Jesus’ point. Jesus here, claims to be the very God that all major and minor prophets of God lived for and suffered for. Jesus isn’t only claiming the Old Testament prophets lived and suffered for His sake, but all who would enter into the Kingdom of God must live and if need be suffer for Jesus’ sake like those prophets.