Summary: Much of the Sermon of the Mount contains beautiful and encouraging lessons. However, it also contains some of the scariest teachings Christ ever delivered. This short study looks at the scariest passages.
The Sermon on the Mount - that body of teaching found in Mathew 5 thru 7 - is generally viewed as the hallmark of the teachings of Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount is considered to be one of the most beautiful sections of the Bible. This is quite true.
Who does not appreciate the beauty of the Beatitudes found in the opening verses of Chapter 5?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of
"Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you
falsely, on account of Me.
Also, found within the Sermon on the Mount is what is considered by most people to be the greatest ethical teaching ever delivered to the world - the so-called Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12 - “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The Lord expounded upon that revolutionary thought in commanding, "I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.
There definitely some beautiful and inspiring teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. However, in the midst of the beautiful lessons and inspiring teachings in that Sermon are, what I consider, the scariest verses in the entire New Testament. The thoughts presented in two short passages, when I seriously contemplate them, send a shiver down my spine.
I want us to contemplate those two passages from the Sermon on the Mount in this lesson.
The first scary passage is found in Matthew 7:13-14 - "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”
Jesus presents to us the reality that there are only two pathways to eternity. There is a pathway that leads to eternal destruction and another that leads to eternal life. Every person who is of an age to choose right from wrong, every person who has the mental capacity to understand that there is an eternity and that there are two pathways that lead to it, are on one of these two pathways as I speak. Right now, you and I are on one of these two pathways.
Jesus first describes the pathway to destruction. The Lord says it is easy to enter this pathway because the gate that opens to this pathway is exceedingly broad. So broad is this gate that you might not even recognize it being a gate, as such. It is very easy to walk right through it. There are no custom agents at this gate. You can carry anything you want through this gate. There are no personal inspections. Come as you are and be as you may… anyone and everyone is able to go through this inviting gate.
And once you enter this gate, the pathway ahead of you is very broad or wide. There is lots of room to travel on this pathway. It is user-friendly. In fact, so wide is this pathway that it is virtually impossible to accidently fall off of it. It doesn’t require diligence or concentration to stay on this path. Once you are on it, just hit cruise control and you can enjoy the ride. And there are many different lanes on this road to suit your fancy.
And you don’t need to worry about being lonely on this road, because there is an abundance of people traveling on this soft and easy road. There is plenty of travelers to help make the experience all the better and easier. You’ll have plenty of company. For, many are those who enter this pathway and stay on it all the way to its destination - eternal destruction.
The great mass of humanity have entered the wide gate and are traveling down the broad way of life. It is the popular road because it is the pleasurable road. All of one’s fleshly desires are enticed and satisfied on this broad road. There are some on this road that even seek eternal life but think that their road of choosing must surely be the way.