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Archive for the ‘Video/Audio Lectures’ Category

SermononMountThe audio for my teaching on Matthew 6:19-34 can be found here.

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SermononMountThe audio for my teaching on Matthew 6:1-21, in which Jesus calls his followers to the greater righteousness of doing good works not for the praise and glory that comes from other humans, but rather the praise and glory (reward) that comes from our Creator, can be found here.

I mention this during the audio, but a fantastic piece to read alongside Matthew 6 is C. S. Lewis’ justly famous essay, “The Weight of Glory,” which can be accessed here.

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The audio for Matthew 5:17-48, focused on Jesus’ six so-called “antitheses” that “fulfill” the law and the prophets, can be found here.

Here are Dale Allison’s helpful comments on what “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” mean (and do not mean) in the climactic statement of 5:48:

SermononMount“What does [perfect] mean?  ‘Be perfect’ can have nothing to do with sinlessness.  For one thing, nothing else in Matthew points to such an idea, and the Lord’s Prayer, in which one asks for daily forgiveness, points directly away from it.  For another, with the words, ‘if you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children’ (7:11), Matthew’s Jesus displays his concord with Paul and the author of 1 John: there is none that is righteous, and if we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves.

How then do we understand 5:48?  The first pertinent observation is that although the verse concludes 5:43ff., it is also the fitting culmination to all of 5:21ff.  Now throughout this section Jesus has asked for a sort of perfection—not the perfection of being without sin but the perfection of what we might call completeness.  He demands that all anger and adulterous thoughts to be eliminated.  He enjoins a comprehensive dedication to the truth that makes oaths otiose.  And he commands a love that is universal in scope.  In each case Jesus orders something that cannot be surpassed.  What more can be done about lust if it has been driven from one’s heart?  And what more can one do about integrity of speech if one always speaks the truth?  And who else is left to love after one has loved the enemy?  Jesus’ call to perfection is a call to completeness, to do certain things utterly.  This is confirmed by 19:16-30, the story of Jesus’ encounter with a rich man [who is exhorted to be ‘perfect’]…Here, as in 5:48, perfection has nothing to do with sinfulness.  Rather, once more the central idea is completeness.” (Dale Allison, The Sermon on the Mount: Inspiring the Moral Imagination, pp. 104-05)

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The audio for my take on Matthew 5:13-16–Jesus’ call to his followers to be salt, light and a city set on a hill–can be found here.

SermononMountI argue that Jesus alludes in these images to the profound ancient vision of Isaiah that the destiny of Zion (see Christopher Seitz’s work on Isaiah for this framework) is the key to unlocking God’s purposes for the rest of creation.  Until God’s people get on track, the nations stumble in the darkness.  Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is calling his followers to finally be what God has always intended Israel to be, but until now in the story has utterly failed to be.  The city of God must be different from the city of man, precisely for the sake of all that is not yet the city of God.  As Augustine put it:

“We see then that the two cities were created by two kinds of love: the earthly city was created by self-love reaching the point of contempt for God, the heavenly city by the love of God carried as far as contempt of self.  In fact, the earthly city glories in itself, the heavenly city glories in the Lord.  The former looks for glory from men, the latter finds its highest glory in God, the witness of a good conscience.  The earthly lifts up its head in its own glory, the heavenly city says to its God: ‘You are my glory, the lifter of my head.’  In the former, the lust for domination lords it over its princes as over the nations it subjugates; in the other both those put in authority and those subject to them serve one another in love, the rulers by their counsel, the subjects by obedience.  The one city loves its own strength shown in its powerful leaders; the other says to its God, ‘I will love you, my Lord, my strength.’ (AugustineCity of God, 14.28)

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The audio for my take on Jesus’ beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 can be found here.

SermononMountDale Allison’s comments on the beatitudes are a good appetizer for meditating on this remarkable opening salvo in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Matt. 5:3-12 does not…so much list the entrance requirements for the kingdom as it offers comfort to the saints…The first half of each beatitude depicts the community’s present; the second half foretells the community’s future; and the juxtaposition of the two radically different situations permits the trials of everyday life to be muted by contemplation of the world to come.  This hardly excludes the implicit moral demand: one is certainly called to become what the beatitudes praise.  But Matthew’s beatitudes are not formally imperatives…The imagination, through contemplation of God’s future, discovers hope and so finds the present tolerable.  In other words, before readers face Jesus’ hard imperatives they are built up, encouraged, consoled…We have here not commonsense wisdom born of experience but eschatological promise which foresees the unprecedented: the evils of the present will be undone and the righteous will be confirmed with reward…So structurally the beatitudes come before the detailed commands of the Sermon proper; that is, they are separated from the main body of imperatives.  This is because 5:3-12 functions less as demand than as blessing.  It is only after hearing the comforting words of 5:3-12, words that tell of rewards that human beings cannot create for themselves but can only receive as gifts from God, that one is confronted by the Messiah’s demands.  So when Jesus speaks in 5:3-12, the chief result is not the burdening of the faithful with moral imperatives.  Rather, 5:3-12 instead brings solace.” (Dale Allison, The Sermon on the Mount: Inspiring the Moral Imagination, pp. 29-30, 42, 44)

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SermononMountI’ve recently begun teaching a new series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  Each week I’ll link to the audio of the teaching here, as well as upload any instructional handouts I create.  Here is the audio of my introduction to the Sermon on the Mount.  See below for my 1.) teaching outline and 2.) a structural overview of the Gospel of Matthew as a whole, which is the crucial context for the Sermon on the Mount:

Sermon on the Mount_Outline

The Structure of Matthew

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Here’s a talk I gave recently for Harvard College Faith and Action:

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