A lot has been written about the reversal of the values of (both old and contemporary) society brought about by the Sermon on the Mount. Some appreciate it in connection with social activities. Others try to invalidate an application to world affairs by the term "ethics of fundamental attitudes" - and favo(u)r the so-called "ethics of responsibility" with old-testamentary threats of punishment, of military and other types. Some simply attempt to live according to this sermon. Beyond Christianity the Sermon on the Mount is also appreciated (e.g. by Gandhi).
Seen from the viewpoint of the investigation of consciousness, it is clear that the Sermon on the Mount is directed in particular towards people who understand that consciousness can be more than intellectual analysis and grasp that life does not end with themselves. The "spiritual poor", who know that they know nothing (or not much) and who are willing to think in relative terms, to see that God knows more than they do and that he can teach them a lot in all things, they are blessed, the "kingdom of heaven is theirs". This attitude can prove to be a continuous and powerful step forward in one's development, more than any other attitude generally considered as "clever".
"Those who suffer" do not just have to bear their own fate alone - and therefore their part of the state of the whole instead of passing over everything carelessly . Some also help to bear the burden of persons in their context and finally the fate of nations and mankind. Instead of statesmen, these are often social movements these days. And who gives them the necessary compassion? Who prays for them, instead of always just for the powerful, famous and economically great?
The "meek" are most clearly those who are voluntarily meek (and not simply those who are afraid). They "shall inherit the earth" and only under their loving control can the earth be preserved and develop.
"Those who hunger and thirst for justice": - not envy, but the fair search for justice for themselves and for others opens people for what is "above" them. Sooner or later an answer will come, although not always as they had imagined. "The merciful " carry their brothers and sisters and fellow creatures up with them voluntarily and in the same way they are carried by God too.
"Those who have a pure heart" and who have noticed and put aside their intellectual eyeglasses and prejudices, "will see God". This is the more comprehensive meaning of the words "Do not judge". So the "head" becomes more open for the "heart" too.
"The -peaceful", also "the Peacemakers", in the sense of the peace prayer of Francis of Assisi, also let others recognize that another force must be at work here, than those forces that otherwise determine life. So those "will be called sons (and daughters) of God."
"Those who are persecuted because of righteousness", "theirs is the kingdom of heaven", and those who are defamed and persecuted by others because of Jesus are blessed too. This was often their feeling too, while their external being was suffering. This does not mean that suffering is a goal in itself.
Those addressed are also supposed to take up their roles as "The salt of the earth" and as "The light of the earth". Especially in this chapter he refers to the "laws" and the prophets of the Old Testament. He talks about that which had been right before his time and makes it fruitful in a new way for a new time, in which the laws themselves can no longer be in the foreground, but their source. A time in which every human being can re-create the inner principles of life anew.
He who "strives for the Kingdom of God, will get everything else". Also here it may be noticed, that indeed the level of intellectual thinking is not supposed to be destroyed, but opened, to be able to accept that which originates from a higher, spiritual logic. However, the speech is not meant to cause us to shun earthly "constraints" for the benefit of feasting in higher spiritual states of consciousness. Higher insights are supposed to be confronted with earthly consciousness and life until the world is converted. Clarity remains, or can only develop in relationship to man’s understanding of certain questions ranging from ignorance to speculation, presumption, theory and belief, finally ending in knowledge. That is an important basis for growth. That is different to that striving for bliss which can be found in some old spiritual schools of thought.
This higher level of thought portrayed in the Sermon on the Mount (see also next chapter) is especially addressed to people who want to do more than simply use it to reorganize their individual spiritual lives. The path is mainly addressing individual life, in which someone can search for a partner or for "closest ones", as described in the chapters "The baptism" and "The silence in the desert". The expansion of consciousness includes the level of masculine-feminine relations and feelers are stretched out in the direction of additional psychological interaction between several people. That was pointed out in the chapters "The wedding at Cana" and "…Love" and "The holy zeal". Here the Sermon on the Mount appeals to this psychical and ethical level which again opens the way for the more comprehensive spiritual goals, capable of forming a community from relations of people. This consciousness leads to a phase of new birth too. This corresponds, in a primitive way, to the relationship of sounds to intervals, of intervals to triads and of triads to the scale, which seems to be the real pattern for everything - the whole.
In theology the connection to Old Testament revelations has been appraised: e.g. Psalms 1 and Jer. 17:7f. According to 4th Moses 12:3 in connection with Mt. 11:20, Jesus was seen as the new Moses. The prophesy in Zechariah 9:9f. "...his kingdom stretched from sea to sea" speaks of the worldwide significance of the promulgated kingdom of God. There was no overlooking the fact that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly transformed laws from the Old Testament into something new: "…but I say unto you…", i.e. he did not speak as a rabbi interpreting scripture, but from the awareness of a divine mission. Exactly this prophetic and messianic characteristic was disputed by those who only believed in the Old Testament.
Extra window: the text of the Beatitude and further teachings of Jesus, with annotations
Reference to a complete version for print, and Copyright Ways of Christ™