HANDBOOK TO THE GOSPELS
THE SERMON CONCLUDED
Here are the passages from Matthew and Luke which constitute
the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, following the exhortations
given in the previous chapter:
37b. Teachings on piety
38a. Teachings on wealth and anxiety
38b. Teachings on righteousness
Parable of the two houses
Note especially that Matthew appears to have drawn his material
on wealth and anxiety from different parts of document Q, all from
that part of Luke which Professor Burton called document P. Matthew
apparently selected passages from it and edited them into other
discourses attributed to Jesus.
TEACHINGS ON PIETY
Matthew includes next some teachings regarding piety and
hypocrisy at this point, probably from document M, since they don't
occur in either Mark or Luke.
Take heed that ye do not your
righteousness before men; else ye will have
no reward with God your Father.
When you are giving alms, do not
sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites
do, that they may be seen of men. I tell you, that
is all their reward. But when you do
alms, do not even let your right hand know
what your left hand is doing, so that your
almsgiving may be in secret; and God your
Father who sees in secret will recompense
And when you pray, you shall not do as
the hypocrites do; for they love to stand
and pray in public so that they may be seen
of men. I tell you, that is all their
reward. But you, when you pray, go into
your closet, and having shut the door, then
you may pray; and God the Father who sees
in secret will recompense you.
And in praying, do not use vain
repetitions, as the hypocrites do; for they
think they will be heard for their much
speaking. Don't be like them; for God your
Father knows what you need, even before
Here Matthew inserts a prayer which is found in document P, as
reported by Luke:
When you pray, say: God, even your
name is holy to us.
May your kingdom come to us.
Give us day by day what we need.
And forgive us our wrongs; as we
forgive those who have wronged us.
And may we not fall into the
temptations of the world.
This passage inserted from document P above is known the world over
as the Lord's Prayer, where "Lord" refers to Jesus, not to God; so
that title for the prayer can only have come into use after Jesus
was dead and had come to be referred to as "the Lord" by those who
considered him the "son of God". In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus
never calls himself that. The prayer could very well be absolutely
authentic, but was probably spoken spontaneously by Jesus at some
gathering of his followers; and was remembered and passed on by
word of mouth and finally found its way into document P in Luke and
thence into the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. But Jesus could
not have spoken it at this point in the Sermon, because he has just
exhorted his followers to pray IN SECRET, so he could NOT have
immediately told them to pray by saying, "OUR father", and "Give
US" and "forgive US". This seems so blatantly evident that I don't
know how it has been overlooked for 2,000 years; therefore I have
named it "Jesus' public prayer". Matthew continues:
For if you forgive men their wrongs
to you, God the Father will forgive you
your wrongs to men. But if you do not
forgive men their wrongs to you, neither
will God the Father forgive you.
And I say more to you, When you fast,
be not of a sad countenance, as the
hypocrites do; for they disfigure their
faces, so that men will see that they are
fasting. Again I tell you, that is their
But you, when you are fasting,
anoint your head, and wash your face, so
that men will NOT see that you are
fasting; but God will, and God the Father
who sees everything will recompense you.
which must also be from document M. So Jesus not only counselled
his followers to PRAY in secret, but also to do alms and to fast in
secret. These injunctions are also found in the gospel of
TEACHINGS ABOUT WEALTH AND ANXIETY
But Jesus is not done. Matthew here inserts some teachings
from document P, followed by an edited version of document G which
Luke has reported as he found it in document P:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures
on earth, where moth and rust destroys it,
and thieves dig through and steal.
Sell all that you have, and give alms;
make for yourselves purses which do not
wear out, a treasure in heaven which does
not waste away, nor can it be stolen nor
eaten by moths. For where your treasure
is, there will your heart be also.
The lamp of your body is your eye;
eye; when your eye is single, then is your
whole body full of light; but when it is
evil, then your body is full of darkness.
Look and see whether the light that is in
you be not actually darkness.
No man can serve two masters; for
either he will hate the one, and love the
other; or he will hold to one, and despise
the other. You cannot serve both God and
Therefore I say unto you, Do not be
anxious for your life, what you shall eat,
or what you shall drink, or what you shall
put on. For the life is more than food,
and the body is more than clothes.
See the ravens; they do not sow seed,
neither do they reap; they have no storehouse
for food; and God the Father feeds them; and
are you not just as important as the birds?
And which of you by being
anxious can add even one inch to your height? If
then you are not able to do that which is least,
why should you worry about the rest?
And also see the anemones; how
they grow; they do not toil, nor do they
spin; yet I tell you, Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like they are. But
if God clothes the grass in the fields
like this, which grows today, and is gone
tomorrow, how much more shall he clothe
you all, you anxious persons?
So do not
worry what you shall eat, or what you
shall drink, and do not be full of worry
or fear. For all these things do the
nations of the world seek after; but God
knows that you need all these things.
But you should
rather seek the kingdom of
God, and these things will come to you.
So do not fear, all of you; it is God
your Father's pleasure that you attain
So therefore do not be anxious for
the morrow; let the morrow be anxious
for itself. Sufficient for today is
the evil that happens today.
How much inner peace and calmness is shining in these words! and
yet how little attention all of us pay to them! There can be no
doubt that it was messages like these that stirred crowds from one
end of Palestine to the other to flock to Jesus.
TEACHINGS ON RIGHTEOUSNESS
Now Jesus begins his concluding words, with an exhortation
Judge not, and you shall not be
judged; condemn not, and you shall not
be condemned; release, and you shall
be released; give, and you shall be
given unto; good measure, pressed
down, shaken together, running over,
shall they give into your bosom; for
with what measure you measure out it
shall be measured to you also.
And he spoke these words to them:
Can the blind lead the blind? shall
they not both fall into a pit?
The disciple is not above his teacher;
but everyone when they are fully trained
shall be as his teacher.
And why do you point out the mote
that is in your brother's eye, and do
not see the beam that is in your own?
Or how can you say to your brother,
Let me cast out the mote from your eye,
when you do not see the beam that is
in your own eye?
If you would not be
a hypocrite, first cast out the beam
that is in your own eye, and then you
shall then see clearly how to cast out the
mote that is in your brother's eye.
The teaching about the mote and the beam is also found in the
gospel of Thomas. Then Matthew includes two statements about holy
things, dogs, pearls, and swine, which sayings are also found in
the gospel of Thomas. But they cannot be accepted as from Jesus,
since they are out of keeping with his teaching about not judging.
They are probably some old Jewish proverbs which Matthew had heard.
Matthew inserts yet another passage from document P at this
point, regarding asking, seeking, and knocking:
Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and you shall find; knock,
and it shall be opened unto you. For
he that asks shall receive; and he
that seeks shall find; and to him
that knocks it shall be opened.
And of which of you that is a
father shall have a son who asks for
a loaf, and will give him a stone?
Or if he ask for an egg, will he give
him a serpent?
If you then, being
human, know how to give good things
unto your children, how much more
shall God your Father give good things
to them that shall ask them!
And as ye would that men should
do unto you, do ye also to them likewise.
Matthew inserts the Golden Rule at this point, verse 7:12,
whereas Luke reports it earlier in the Sermon, at verse 6:31. But
Matthew probably got his version from a saying attributed to the
great rabbi Hillel, because Matthew says that it is the law and
the prophets, which was the way Hillel described it too.
Matthew next reports a saying about
the broad and the narrow way, for which a slightly different
version is reported by Luke. Both Luke and Matthew are shown
below, since Matthew's explanation is more complete, and was
probably taken by him from document M.
Enter you in by the narrow gate;
for wide is the gate, and broad is the
way, that leads to descruction; and many
there be that enter in thereby. For
narrow is the gate, and constricted the
way, that leadeth unto life, and few
there be that find it.
Strive to enter in by the narrow door;
for many, I tell you, shall seek to enter
in, and shall not be able.
Now the Sermon winds to its close, with remarks about good fruit
and bad fruit, good words and bad words, good actions and bad
actions, and the well-known parable of the house built on the rock
and the house built on the sand.
Beware of false prophets, which come
to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are
For there is no good tree that
brings forth rotten fruit; nor is
there a rotten tree that brings forth
good fruit. For each tree is known
by its own fruit. For of thorns men
do not gather figs, nor of a bramble
bush do they gather grapes.
Every tree that brings not forth good
fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Therefore by your fruits you shall know them.
The good man out of the good
treasure of his heart brings forth
that which is good; and the evil man
out of the evil treasure of his heart
brings forth that which is evil; for
out of the abundance of the heart his
And why do you call me Lord, Lord,
and do not follow my teachings?
Matthew inserts two paragraphs above which seem to be from document
M, about false prophets, but they do not seem to be part of Jesus'
thought, because of the line about fire. The short verse above about
calling Jesus Lord, Lord, appears to have been expanded by Matthew
into verse 21 below:
Not everyone that says to me,
Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom
of God, but those that does the will
Many will say to me in that
day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy,
and cast out devils, and do many great
works in your name?
And then will I say to them,
I never knew you; depart from me, you
However, verse 23 above is doubtful as being from Jesus, because
it is the first time he refers to himself as "I" in any of his
The Sermon closes with a parable about two men, one who built
his house upon the sand, and one who built his house on the rock,
something like the story of the three little pigs:
Every one that comes to me,
and hears my words, and does them, is
like a man building a house, who dug
deep, and laid his foundation upon a
rock; and when a flood came, the storm
struck the house, but could not shake
it, because it had been well builded.
But he that hears me, and does not
what I teach, he is like a man who
built his house upon the sand, without
a foundation; against which the stream
crashed, and the house fell in; and
the ruin of that house was very great.
And Matthew concludes by saying that after he finished, the crowds
were astonished, for he taught them as one having authority, and
not as the scribes.
Thus we have seen how Matthew has compiled the Great Sermon
from the shorter Sermon on the Plain found in document G, passages
from document P as we believe it has been faithfully included in
Luke, and passages from the document which Matthew alone had, known
as document M. It is as superb a job of editing as has ever been
seen in the history of the world, showing a fidelity to his original
sources and a disinterestedness in his own recognition, since no one
knows who the author of the gospel of Matthew really was.
But it is appalling to see that NONE of these teachings, which
appear at many other points in the Synoptic gospels, found their way
into the gospel according to John, in which Jesus constantly tells
people that he is the son of God and they'd better believe it or they
will be kicked out of the kingdom of heaven, and never once mentions
goodness or loving enemies or even mercy and forgiveness.