Explain the ethical teachings of Jesus with special reference to the Sermon on the mount.
Jesus of Nazareth was born a Jew. He was raised in the Jewish faith, as both his parents were Jewish, and some theologians would argue that Jesus never taught anything that was against the Jewish faith, and was just another new thinking Rabbi. The understand Jesus’ teachings, however, it is fundamental to have a comprehension of the Jewish way of like, and their rules. The Hebrew word for this is Halakah, which translates exactly as ‘the path that one walks...’ Halakah is made up of a series of Mitzvot Aseh (positive commandments ‘to do’) and Mitzvot lo ta’aseh (negative commandments ‘do not’) which ...view middle of the document...
Looking at the sermon the mount, Jesus seems to be teaching that if you have had a hard time on earth you shall be rewarded in heaven. This is called the beatitudes, which are the halakic statements that Jesus makes, which have a stricter stance that actual Halakah, one of the most famous verses of the beatitudes is verse 9 “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” This also, the most important part of the Beatitudes, because it shows that if you are peaceful, (by being peaceful you are being loving to others) you shall be called the children of God, so accepted by God. However, this is not too dissimilar from what the Jewish Law says. The Jewish law, if kept properly should entail peace, but Jesus’ ethic means for you to be peaceful in action and mind, to never be angry or hold a grudge towards anyone. This concept is called idealistic perfectionism, where Sanders says that ‘Jesus cites the law and then says, in effect, that it is not good enough. For example, in the Antitheses, Jesus says
“ 27 ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
In effect, Jesus is setting higher standards, he is not only asking for actions, but for thoughts as well. God knows our hearts and will know if you have committed adultery in your heart. The Antitheses bring about the process of atonement by becoming like God, and even though this is impossible, the beauty of Jesus’ ethic, is that if God can know our hearts, he can know that we have tried to do our best, and when we have got it wrong, we have repented. It also works Vice Versa, if you do the actions for selfish reasons, then you are defeating the point of the object, and so forfeit becoming God’s Child.
Another ethic of Jesus is your relationship with people, and how to treat them in the right manner. In the Sermon on the Mount it says:
“ 23 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Sanders points out that the sacrifice would not count if the wrong was not put right first. Jesus was encouraging “self examination”. Sanders also points out that “Jesus may as well have warned against harbouring one’s anger”. This is possibly one of Jesus’ main ethics, treating people in the right way. Also, Jesus seems to be different to normal rabbis, as he does not condemn people for their minor lapses. He shows this by working with people who are not among the powerful, but the lowly, and he did not want to harsh with people, or judge them, as he did not want to add to their...