By Crom, there shall be no oaths!
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
C’mon Jesus, don’t be a Don’t Bee, be a Do Bee! When one makes a list of “don’ts” like the Sermon on the Mount, one hopes that the list will become redundant because people stop doing them. Congratulations Jesus, these verses are redundant, although I’m not sure that the sermon can take the credit for them. Apart from swearing on the bible in court (and even that is optional) I can’t think of any other time when anyone would consider doing this in God’s name. Although, as there’s a clear prohibition in doing so it does make me wonder how swearing on the bible in court came about.
When I started these posts about Matthew I looked at the ‘realism’ of them. Looking at how realistic this sermon is I’m gonna go with ‘not very’. If Jesus really was saying these exact words as a sermon then the delivery to where we are now would take only a few minutes if said slowly. Yet in that short time and in the short space of less than 40 verses he’s covered seven topics which have very little connection between them. In fact, he makes no attempt to connect them with a lead-in sentence; so far it is a list mostly made up of prohibitions. And a list in which each point is barely touched with any depth. Much like this post.
Let’s be honest, this is not riveting public speaking. I wonder if it’s ever been done in total as a performance piece? Try it yourself at home by plonking your family or friends down on the grass in the backyard while you walk around reading out the sermon. I’m betting that you won’t be reaping any huzzahs for it. It’s dull, and as we’ve seen recently in divorce it’s probably going to be offensive to one of the adults there. Yup, I’m thinking that the Sermon on the Mount is a fictional account.