On a mountain top
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven …”
Matthew 5:1-3 NASBu
On a plain
17 Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place; and there was a large crowd of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, …
20 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God …”
Luke 6:17, 20 NASBu
SAB Contradiction 309
The Sermon on the Mount is maybe the most famous discourse of Jesus. Many people in history – believing and unbelieving – have been impressed and inspired by it to reconsider their lives and to start living more according to the rules of humanity outlined in it. And now the critic wants to know whether this was Jesus’ first or second sermon compared with the Sermon on the Plain? I don’t see what the Bible Contradiction might be whether the Sermon on the Mount was Jesus’ first discourse or the Sermon on the Plain. However, the critic has spoken, and so he will be answered.
Biblical indications generally
When we take into account all the indications given in the gospels we get the impression that the Sermon on the Mount took place shortly earlier than the Sermon on the Plain:
- We have to do with two different discourses: Luke is shorter compared with that of Matthew.
- Many similarities in content but not identical in expression; (compare the texts above). This is the most decisive argument that there were two discourses. Jesus’ writers explicitly mentioned that they presented accurately his sayings: “… when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: …” (Matthew 7:28 KJV)
“Now when he had ended all his sayings …” (Luke 7:1 KJV)
- After each discourse follows the description of the healing of the Centurion’s Servant (in Matthew after the intermezzo of the Healing of a Leper). So they are certainly connected with regard to content as well as to time.
Biblical indications specifically
- Sermon on the Mount. Matthew gives a location on top of a mountain in the neighbourhood of Capernaum: (5:1) “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain …” and his disciples also came up to him, not a small group but many: “the crowds were amazed at His teaching” (7:28), “When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him …” (8:1)
- Sermon on the Plain. Luke says that Jesus went to a mountain (6:12) and later on “Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place” (6:17), followed by a description of the multitude that was waiting for him to be healed “who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured.” (6:18) Then the Discourse on the Plain follows.
From this descriptions we learn that Jesus went to the top of the mountain and that many disciples followed him. That night he prayed and in the morning he returned to those who had followed him to the top of the mountain and he chose his twelve disciples. Then, still on top of the mountain, he started to teach the people: the Sermon on the Mount. Having finished his words he went down the mountain and there on a lower level (at the foot of the mountain – a plain area) he began to heal those who had waited for him, not being able to climb to the top of the mountain the day before. When he had healed them all (Luke 6:19) he began to teach: the Sermon on the Plain.
No Bible Contradiction