What is the Sermon on the Mount?
Matthew 5-7 is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, the first of five major discourses by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. It is a profound exposition of the law and how it intersects with the new covenant in Christ. The sermon speaks to the heresies of the Pharisaic legalism and cold pompous self-righteousness. Jesus emphasizes His demands for discipleship and the demonstration of true righteousness of the heart, which the law cannot produce.
The introduction to the sermon (Matthew 5:1-2) shows that Jesus spoke to a "mixed" group. Some were barely believers, some were gravitating toward Christ, and others were committed to following Him. The sermon was primarily addressed directly to and primarily to His disciples but all others who were there listened with intrigue and interest. Jesus' teaching was new and fresh unlike other teachers of the law and He spoke with great authority.
"And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29).