Luke 6:20-49, The Sermon on the Plain

This post is excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S. Kent Brown, pp. 330-54. It begins with an introduction, the New Rendition (a new version of the Greek text by Eric D. Huntsman), a verse-by-verse commentary,  and finally an analysis.


The Sermon on the Plain, it seems, is aimed as much at the Twelve as it is at the crowd, plainly setting out the rules for his community. He intends that the Twelve do as he will teach, offering them his guidelines as he and they step off together in their joint efforts to reach the hearts of others in both word and deed (see 6:47-49; also Matt. 5:19-20).

The sermon itself stands as a sleepless sentinel within the recorded words of the Savior, casting its reassuring gaze across his disciples and their lives. Its robust requirements touch much of how people live their lives and interact with others, lifting away the dazzle and heartache of this world and allowing a peek into the life to come. The command to love one’s enemies in imitation of the Father graces the most important part of the sermon (see the Notes on 6:27, 35-36). His command to “do good,” and then his illustrations of what it means to do exactly that, impart an enabling power and dignity into the lives of anyone who will follow this directive (see 6:27-34; the Analysis below). The differences in the content and recoverable setting between this sermon and the Sermon on the Mount point to the distinctiveness of the two sermons rather than to their unity (see the Analysis on 6:20-49 below).

Mediterranean landscape.

New Rendition

20And when he raised his eyes on his disciples, he said,

“Blessed are the poor,

because yours is the kingdom of God.

21Blessed are those who are now hungry,

because you will eat your fill.

Blessed are those who now weep,

for you will laugh.

22“Blessed are you when men hate you and when they shun you, and revile, and repudiate your name as evil because of the Son of Man. 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward will be great in heaven; for their fathers did likewise to the prophets.

24“Nevertheless, woe unto you wealthy,

for you are receiving your consolation.

25Woe unto you who are now full,

for you will hunger.

Woe to those who now laugh,

for you will mourn and weep.

26Woe when all men speak well of you,

for their fathers did likewise to false prophets.

27“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also your other. And from him who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your inner tunic. 30Give to all who ask of you, and do not demand back your own things from those who take from you. 31And as you desire that people do to you, do to them likewise.

32“And if you love those who love you, what benefit is it to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is it to you? Sinners also do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what benefit is it to you? Even sinners lend to sinners so that they may receive in return the same amount. 35Rather, love your enemies, and do good and lend without expecting anything in return; and your reward will be great. And you will be the sons of the Highest, because he is kind to the ungrateful and to the wicked.

36“Become compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. 37And do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; 38give and it will be given to you; they will give into the fold of your clothing a good measurement that is pressed down, shaken, and overflowing. For with the measurement that you measure it shall be measured back to you.”

39And he told them a parable as well: “The blind cannot lead the blind, can they? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40The disciple is not above the teacher; but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41“Why do you see the chip in your brother’s eye but do not notice the beam in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the chip which is in your eye,’ when you yourself cannot see the beam in your own eye? Hypocrite, first remove the beam from your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the chip in your brother’s eye.

43“For there is no good tree that produces rotten fruit, nor on the other hand is there a rotten tree that produces good fruit. 44For each tree is known by its own fruit; for they do not gather figs from a thorn bush, nor do they pick grapes from a bramble. 45The good man produces good from what good is stored in his heart, and the wicked produces wickedness from the wickedness stored in his. For out of the abundance of his heart does his mouth speak.

46“And why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not what I say? 47I will show you what everyone is like who comes to me and listens to my words and does them. 48He is like a man building a house who dug and went deep and put a foundation on the rock. And when a flood came, the river broke upon that house, but it did not have power to shake it because it had been well-built. 49But he who has heard and not done is like a man building a house upon the ground without a foundation, upon which the river broke and it immediately collapsed and the fall of that house was great.”


6:20 he lifted up his eyes: As the other appearances of this expression show, the action occurs in special contexts (see 16:23; 18:13). This idiomatic expression ties back to very early sources that often describe lifting up the hands, the voice or the eyes on sacred occasions (see Gen. 13:10, 14; 18:2; 21:16; 22:4, 13; Lev. 9:22; etc.; the Notes on 21:28; 24:50).[1]

his disciples: Jesus’ main audience for his sermon consists of his followers, but the others in the multitude listen too (see 7:1). In contrast, it appears from the Joseph Smith Translation that the audience for the Sermon on the Mount are the Twelve (see JST Matt. 7:1).[2]

Blessed: The Greek term (makarios) appears not only here but also in the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere in the New Testament (see 1:45; 7:23; 10:23; Rom. 4:7-8; James 1:12; etc.). Its general meaning is happy, with a sense of joy rooted in an eternal hope (see Luke 14:15; Titus 2:13).[3]

poor: Jesus identifies himself earlier as the one “anointed . . . to preach the gospel to the poor” (4:18). The destitute situation of such people grinds them down so that they are truly humble and therefore receptive to divine influences, God being their only hope (see Isa. 25:4; 29:19-21; Ps. 35:10; also D&C 104:15-16).[4] Matthew preserves the formulation “poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), which is not as broad as the saying preserved by Luke. Not incidentally, the Joseph Smith Translation renders this beatitude and the next as “Blessed are the poor” and “Blessed are they who weep now,” more in the style of the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (see JST 6:20; Matt. 5:3-4). In a related vein, those afflicted with poverty do not have a free pass–they are to avoid bad behavior and stand upright, as the Savior points out elsewhere: “Wo unto you poor men . . . whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands! But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite” (D&C 56:17-18). Perhaps importantly, the Greek text reads “the poor” (hoi ptōchoi) and may constitute an early designation for Jesus’ followers (see the Note on 4:18).[5]

yours is the kingdom of God: This promise differs little from that in Matthew, except for the third person plural, “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). However, Luke never writes the words “kingdom of heaven,” which is a favorite expression of Matthew (see Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 5:10, 19-20; 7:21; etc.), but consistently pens “kingdom of God” (see 4:43; 7:28; 8:1, 10; 9:2; etc.). On one level, the expression “kingdom of heaven” emphasizes the tie of the earthly kingdom to heaven and underlines its true locale, whereas the words “kingdom of God” draw one’s focus to the One in charge of the whole kingdom. In modern scripture, Joseph Smith clarifies that “the kingdom of God” is the earthly counterpart of “the kingdom of Heaven” (D&C 65:5-6). Moreover, the Savior himself repeats the words “kingdom of God” when setting out how the poor become linked to it: “the poor who are pure in heart . . . shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs” (D&C 56:18). Such statements represent a reversal of the accepted social and religious order of classes (see the Analysis below).[6]

6:21 ye that hunger now: Matthew’s fourth beatitude reads “they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matt. 5:6), a report of Jesus’ words that focuses on a spiritual hungering. Jesus’ saying in Luke goes beyond this notion to include those who struggle with abject poverty, whether physical or spiritual. God is their only true hope.

ye shall be filled: Plainly implicit is a reward that will come from above, whether in a temporal or spiritual form. As one learns from another scriptural source, physical and spiritual nourishment complement one another (see 3 Ne. 19:6; 20:3-9).

ye that weep now: Jesus does not spell out the reasons for such persons’ sorrow. Rather he makes a universal statement about grief and pain of whatever sort and whatever intensity from which he will offer deliverance (see 2 Ne. 9:21; D&C 18:11).[7]

ye shall laugh: Lying just under this promise rests the long-standing assurance that God will exchange sorrows for joy (see Ps. 126:1-2; Isa. 35:10; Jer. 31:13; etc.).

6:22 when men shall hate you: The elements of this verse correspond only roughly to Matt. 5:10-11 in the Sermon on the Mount. Both in Matthew and here, Jesus leads his hearers to understand that, even though happiness will come, so will tests and trials, including from others. Earlier Zacharias sings that, with God’s renewed revelation of his mercies, “we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us” (1:71). Hatred undergirds the hostile actions that Jesus will now detail.[8]

when they shall separate you: These frightful words seem to call attention to social ostracism rather than to excommunication from the synagogue, a later practice.[9] The verb (Greek aphorizō) often has to do with God separating someone for his service, but not here (see Acts 13:2; Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:15; etc).[10] We sense that, on the edge of Jesus’ remark, emerges a critique of the Pharisees who separated others from their company.[11] The Joseph Smith Translation adjusts the next expression “from their company” to “from among them” (JST 6:22).

shall reproach you: An echo of this saying, with the same verb (Greek oneidizō) appears in 1 Pet. 4:14, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.” The sense is “to censure, to scold,” the meaning that lies beneath James 1:5, “and upbraideth not.”[12] An allusion may also exist to the reproached woman of Isa. 54:4-17 who will find refuge in divine deliverance and be kept safe within “the covenant of [the Lord’s] peace” (Isa. 54:10; 3 Ne. 22:10).

cast out your name as evil: The matter has to do with defaming a person’s name. In ancient Israelite law, such an act was punished only in the case of a husband defaming a recently married virgin (see Deut. 22:19).

for the Son of man’s sake: Though some have held that this expression represents a late addition to this saying,[13] the allusion in 1 Pet. 4:14 demonstrates its tie to Jesus’ teachings.

6:23 Rejoice ye: As in Matthew 5:12, where Jesus also instructs his disciples to rejoice, the meaning has to do with enduring inner joy, inner peace, rather than with momentary happiness.[14]

that day: Most commentators see this phrase as pointing to the day when a disciple suffers persecution, a reasonable idea.[15] But the words also point to the day when God settles all accounts at the end of time (see 17:30; 19:43; 21:34-35; Isa. 61:2; Mal. 4:1-3, 5; D&C 97:21-23; 112:24; 133:10-11; the Notes on 17:22, 26; 19:42).[16]

leap for joy: The verb (Greek skirtaō) appears only in Luke and earlier in connection with the unborn child of Elisabeth who is moved joyously by the Holy Spirit (see 1:41, 44). The verb usually makes reference to young, frisky animals: “ye shall go forth, and bound as young calves let loose from [their] bonds” (LXX Mal. 4:2).[17] The image also recalls the feet that turn (Hebrew verb shuv) from the paths of sin into the paths of righteousness (see the Note on 7:44 and the Analysis thereon).[18]

your reward is great in heaven: Because Jesus’ kingdom brings a reversal of the customary order, which sees happiness and contentment arising mostly from wealth and influence, those who “endure grief, suffering wrongfully” in this life (1 Pet. 2:19), will experience a reversal of their earthly fate in the next life.[19] This future aspect receives emphasis in the Joseph Smith Translation: “your reward shall be great in heaven” (JST 6:23).

did their fathers unto the prophets: Examples of persecuting prophets are numerous (see D&C 127:4). One recalls Elijah (see 1 Kgs. 19:10), Zechariah to whom Jesus will refer later (see 11:51; 2 Chron. 24:20-22), Urijah (see Jer. 26:20-24), and Jeremiah (see Jer. 38:6-13).

6:24 woe: This term appears only rarely in idiomatic Greek and seems to be a translation of the Hebrew ‘oy, a cry of pain because of affliction, or of terror because of looming misfortune. The word also carries a sense of lamentation.[20]

woe unto you: It seems likely that, beginning with this verse, Jesus is warning, or even lamenting over, some of his hearers who take the happy circumstances in their lives too seriously, as if they are a reward of some sort. But it is also possible that he is saying that life can take a different turn for these people and, as a result, they might end up making enemies whom, in his words, they are to love and pray for (see 6:27-28).

rich: With this notice, Jesus begins an unvarnished assault on those who place wealth and property at the center of their lives (see 12:15, 21, 34; 16:22-23; 18:24).[21] The only softening–and it is significant–arises in connection with the crowd’s reaction to his saying about the rich young ruler (see 18:26; the Note on 18:27).

ye have received your consolation: The Greek verb (apechō) appears in receipts for payment made, referring to full payment.[22] Thus, ominously, those to whom Jesus points have received all that will come to them (see the Note on 16:25).[23]

6:25 you that are full: Jesus apparently takes aim at those who see their abundance as meeting all their needs and therefore feel no desire for the things of God.[24]

ye shall hunger: This kind of hungering characterizes spiritual vacancy as well as physical.

you that laugh now: Jesus seems to point to the type of laughter that accompanies a person’s momentary successes,[25] perhaps even to an “excess of laughter” (D&C 88:69).

6:26 when all men shall speak well of you: Evidently, behind this statement stands the concern for breaches of principle that speciously allow “all” others to form a positive opinion of Jesus’ followers.[26]

the false prophets: In other instances, false prophets are those who will threaten future believers (see Matt. 7:15; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; 1 John 4:1). Here Jesus nods instead to past persons who drew people to them by falsely claiming to be God’s mouthpieces (see Isa. 30:10; Jer. 5:31; 23:11-22; Micah 2:11; 2 Pet. 2:1).[27]

6:27 But I say unto you: Jesus pushes forward his authority, which rests in himself, for what he is about to say (see 4:24; 5:24; 7:9, 14, 26, 28, 47; etc.). We see a similar appeal in John’s address (see the Note on 3:8) and in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44).

you which hear: Two meanings spring to mind. The first has to do with those who really listen to Jesus’ words and incorporate their vivifying power into their lives (see 6:27; 8:12-15, 21; 14:35; 16:29, 31; 21:38; the Notes on 8:8; 11:28; 19:48; the Analysis on 8:4-15). The second touches on those who hear but refuse to internalize what he says, a possible allusion to Isaiah 6:9-10: “Hear ye indeed, but understand not.”[28] The Joseph Smith Translation adjusts and adds to this expression: “you who hear my words,” clarifying that Jesus is the source to which listeners should look (JST 6:27; emphasis added; see 6:47, 49; D&C 41:1).

Love your enemies: Jesus reaches one of the hearts of his sermon in words that he will repeat for reinforcement at 6:35 and whose theme will persist through 6:38. All his hearers must exercise the virtue of loving their enemies, whether it be the poor and downtrodden loving those who take advantage of them, or the rich and influential loving those who oppose them for some reason. None stand exempt from this imperative. Notably, the kind of love that Jesus draws attention to here (Greek agapaō) goes beyond romance and friendships and seeks to bless others, no matter the costs, as the next verses illustrate (see the Notes on 6:12, 28; 22:50; 23:34; the Analysis below).[29]

them which hate you: As will become clear later, followers of Jesus will always be dogged by those who hate them: “ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake” (21:17). But rather than feeling put upon, disciples should feel happy to be treated thus: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you” (6:22).

6:28 Bless them that curse you: Jesus begins to spell out what it means to “do good” (6:27). A subtle link to Jesus’ Atonement may lie in these words because he is seen as cursed owing to the manner of his death, a form of executing criminals (see Deut. 21:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 3:13).[30]

pray for them which despitefully use you: Jesus spends the night in prayer (see 6:12). What does he pray for? One obvious answer is that he prays for and about the Twelve. Moreover, knowing that he will not ask followers to do something that he is unwilling to do, we can reasonably conclude that he prays for his enemies who find one another and enter into a conspiracy the prior day (see the Note on 6:12). In a related vein, the Joseph Smith Translation broadens the group who are to receive the benefits of a disciple’s prayers by adding “and persecute you” to the end of this verse, bringing the saying close to that in Matthew (JST 6:28; see Matt. 5:44).

6:29 unto him that smiteth thee: Jesus’ instruction shows a progression from attitude (love) to words (bless, curse) to deeds.[31] In offering the other cheek, the disciple demonstrates his genuine love for an enemy. At this point, the Joseph Smith Translation adds, “or, in other words, it is better to offer the other [cheek], than to revile again,” a statement that both clarifies and interprets Jesus’ peaceful intent (JST 6:29; see D&C 98:23-27).

smiteth thee on the one cheek: The Greek verb tuptō points to a hard blow to the jaw with the fist, not merely a slap.[32]

cloke: This outer garment (Greek himation) is the most valuable piece of clothing that a person may own and hence is of value to thieves and others (see the Notes on 10:30; 23:34).[33]

forbid not to take thy coat also: To willingly surrender one’s clothing to an adversary is to show in a dramatic, palpable way one’s love. Such human acts, which brim with mercy, mirror God’s mercy (see 3:11; 6:36).

6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee: This saying, and the next, lift value away from material possessions, a point that underlies Jesus’ sayings and parables that have to do with temporal goods such as one’s treasures and the Prodigal Son (see 12:31-34; 15:11-32). Here, the verb to give (Greek didōmi) is a present imperative and calls attention not to a single instance of giving but to a lifetime pattern.[34] The Joseph Smith Translation inserts before this entire verse the following words that underscore making peace and leaving judgment in God’s hands: “For it is better that thou suffer thine enemy to take these things, than to contend with him. Verily I say unto you, Your heavenly Father who seeth in secret, shall bring that wicked one into judgment” (JST 6:30).

him that taketh away thy goods: Jesus’ words, particularly the verb (Greek airō), invite us to think not only about those who borrow innocently (see 6:34) but also those who take goods by force, whether legally or not.[35] In the prior verse, the Savior concerns himself with how to respond to a person “that taketh away thy cloke;” in this saying, he broadens the requirement for a gentle, generous response.

6:31 as ye would that men should do to you: This formulation of the golden rule parallels the concept as Jesus frames it in Matthew 7:12. In that passage, Jesus goes on to tie the rule to the Mosaic Law and the prophets. In Luke’s report, Jesus is both summarizing what he has just said and introducing what follows. Additionally, he links the golden rule to how people interact with others.[36]

6:32 if ye love them which love you: The Joseph Smith Translation adds one word that sharpens Jesus’ intent to lead his disciples to love all: “if ye love them only who love you” (JST 6:33; emphasis added).

what thank have ye: The expression, repeated in the next two verses, is literally, “What sort of gift is it to you?” By bringing up the word for gift (Greek charis), Jesus lays emphasis not on reciprocity but on giving gifts, pure and simple (see the Notes on 14:12-14). He is also demanding that his followers exceed the standards of other people in their normal, personal interactions.[37] With a similar meaning, the Joseph Smith Translation adjusts this expression to “what reward have you?” both here and in 6:34 (JST 6:33, 34), a change that brings the reading close to that of Matt. 5:46, “what reward have ye?”

sinners also love: Without judging them and without drawing attention to everyone’s shortcomings, the Savior gives voice to an important, elevating insight about those whom society generally despises. Further, Jesus beckons sinners into his circle, upon condition of repentance (see 5:8, 32; 15:1-2).

love those that love them: The Joseph Smith Translation changes these words to “do even the same,” making the expression identical to that at the end of 6:33 and closer to those in Matt. 5:46 and 5:47 (JST 6:33).

6:33 if ye do good: Though the verb translated “do good” (Greek agathopoieō) differs from the pair of words translated thus in 6:27 (Greek kalōs poieō), Jesus’ point remains: for his disciples, doing good means reaching out not merely to one’s associates with whom one feels comfortable, but “to them which hate you” (6:27). Interestingly, the Joseph Smith Translation omits this verse altogether.

6:34 if ye lend: The Savior brings forward possessions, and one’s attitude toward them, as a graspable measuring rod of how well a person is abiding by the golden rule. Not surprisingly, possessions underlie much of what he will teach throughout his ministry, such as in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, the Prodigal Son, and Lazarus and the rich man (see 15:3-32; 16:19-31; the Note on 18:24).

6:35 love ye your enemies: By repeating exactly his words from 6:27, as the Greek text shows, Jesus stresses the importance of the type of love that his disciples are to display. It forms the signature of his kingdom.

do good: Jesus has just defined what he envisions by doing good in the light of the golden rule: to exceed reciprocity and to go beyond the comfortable.

hoping for nothing again: The Greek verb apelpizō usually means “to despair” but here carries the sense “to expect nothing in return.”[38]

your reward shall be great: Jesus repeats almost exactly his promise in 6:23 where he speaks of heaven as the place for receiving one’s reward, a meaning that attaches to his promise here. His words in this passage also bear the sense that a reward for loving, generous actions will come to a person while on this earth.

the children of the Highest: The language is almost formulaic, as if it highlights a celestial title of some sort that designates a special status beyond a person’s mere presence in heaven. This meaning adheres to the angel’s words to Mary about her child: “He shall be . . . called the Son of the Highest” (1:32; see the Note thereon). Hence, a direct, intimate association with the Father and Son is implicit in these words, much as we see in Mosiah 5:7: “ye are born of [Christ] and have become his sons and his daughters.”

6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father: Imitating the Father, who showers divine mercy on his people, lies at the center of what Jesus is trying to teach his hearers, as these words disclose. As the Father loves and does good “unto the unthankful and to the evil” (6:35), so the disciple is to do, thus mirroring the Father.[39]

6:37 Judge not: In Matthew’s report, Jesus ties the act of not judging to the legal dictum that we receive back whatever we dish out unjustly (see Matt. 7:1-2). In this passage, Jesus’ words reach into the heavenly world with the promise that we “shall not be judged.” We cannot avoid unjust judgment in this world, but we will not be subject to such judgment in the next.

forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: The only realm wherein this assurance is valid lies in the celestial world. Forgiving in this life may or may not bring forgiveness. Even so, we are “required to forgive all men,” no matter the anticipated outcome (D&C 64:10).

6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you: The other context for the promise “it shall be given unto you” is that of prayer whose result is receiving “the Holy Spirit” (see 11:9-13). Here Jesus affirms that giving generously brings forward its own reward. In fact, the entire verse brims with the sense of abundance.

good measure: Jesus now turns to images from the marketplace. The focus rests chiefly on the buyer who, in Jesus’ view, must be happy with the purchase. A secondary emphasis falls on the seller who is to be fully honest, even generous, in measuring out the goods that are sold.

running over: The other actions of the seller of goods–shaking them together and pressing them down–indicate a fundamental honesty in dealing with the buyer. But this requirement, that the goods sold should be running over, especially points to the generosity that characterizes the Savior’s expansive response to a disciple.[40]

shall men give into your bosom: The Greek text reads “shall they give,” opening the door to a meaning of heavenly gifts, not just earthly. In fact, the only other occurrences of the word bosom in Luke’s Gospel (Greek kolpos) appear in the story of the angels carrying Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom, a plainly heavenly scene (see 16:22-23). It was the fold of the garment, or one’s bosom, that functioned as a pocket where a person put goods acquired in the market place.[41]

measured to you again: This standard of justice appears elsewhere (see Matt. 7:1-2; 3 Ne. 14:1-2; Morm. 8:19; D&C 1:10; Mishnah Sotah 1:7). On one important level, it frames a warning against such activities as gossiping and backbiting. On another, it has to do with a person who gives a gift unwillingly, offering only the minimum, in contrast to the unstinting, steady generosity of God:[42] if a person gives “grudgingly . . . it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift” (Moro. 7:6-8).

6:39 he spake a parable unto them: Luke’s inserted words create a bridge from the first part of the sermon to the second, and also connect with Jesus’ commandment to love others with a deep self-introspection that undergirds the following sayings–Why do I do what I do?

Can the blind lead the blind?: This vivid image, framed as a question, needs no answer. But Jesus’ query invites hearers and us to ask whether spiritual blindness darkens our actions that we intend to be helpful. A similar issue lies beneath the question in 6:41.

6:40 The disciple is not above his master: In these words, Jesus resolves the prior question of blindness (see 6:39) and the following inquiry about dimmed sight (see 6:41). It is the “master” who gives sight to the blind and clarity to the dim and unfocused. To John’s disciples Jesus says of his own activities, “tell John what things ye have seen . . . how that the blind see” (7:22; emphasis added).

every one that is perfect: The sense of the verb (Greek katartizō) is “properly prepared, fully trained.”[43] The spelling of this verb does not tie with the Greek adjective translated elsewhere as “perfect” (Greek teleios; see Matt. 5:48; Eph. 4:13; etc.).[44]

shall be as his master: Jesus’ statement reflects the notion of imitating the Father (see 6:36), but with the added dimension of becoming as the master is. This promise is not idle; see Rom. 8:17 (“joint-heirs with Christ”) and 3 Ne. 27:27 (“what manner of men ought ye to be? . . . even as I am”).

6:41 why beholdest thou the mote: This second reference to sight–the other has to do with blindness (6:39)–underscores the disciple’s need for true, clear vision of the self. The noun translated “mote” (Greek karphos) means a speck of dry straw, wood, or stone.[45] The context for this saying in the Sermon on the Mount is similar to that here, a concern for how we perceive ourselves (see Matt. 7:3).

the beam: The term (Greek dokos) refers to a large log, often the main beam in a home.[46]

6:42 Brother, let me pull out: The Joseph Smith Translation omits the word “Brother” and thus harmonizes Jesus’ words with those in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 7:4).

when thou thyself beholdest not: This expression does not appear in Jesus’ words reported by Matthew (see Matt. 7:4). In Luke’s record, a strong emphasis falls on the willful lack of self examination.

hypocrite: The Greek noun (hypokritēs) refers to an actor who plays the role of someone else by consciously suppressing his or her natural character (see the Note on 12:1).[47]

6:43 a good tree: Besides linkages to natural plants and, possibly more remotely, to the tree of life, Jesus’ words demand that a listener ask whether he or she is good within, as a tree must be in order to produce good fruit (see 3:9; 6:44; D&C 52:17-18).

corrupt: The adjective (Greek sapros) generally means “rotting” or “spoiled.” The corruption or uselessness of the tree and its fruit therefore lies inside, a warning to disciples both about themselves and about false teachers (see 6:45).[48]

6:44 every tree is known by his own fruit: In addition to ties back to the creation of plants, and their fruits or seeds (see Gen. 1:11-12; Moses 2:11-12), Jesus’ words stress that a person’s true inner qualities will eventually poke out and become visible, even if one is good actor (see 6:42).

grapes: The noun (Greek staphulē) means bunches of grapes and thus points to a genuine abundance.[49]

6:45 good treasure of his heart: Jesus brings forward two dimensions that grow out of one’s treasure–deeds and words. As he explains, the treasure of one’s heart becomes the well-spring of actions and words. But the nature of the treasure is rather difficult to pin down: is it an innate dimension within a person or a part of a person’s learned behavior and character? Furthermore, the term translated “treasure” (Greek thēsauros) also points to a treasure house or temple storage, opening our view onto a person’s sacred well of inner goodness.[50]

6:46 do not the things which I say: Jesus nods toward a potential disconnect within a follower who, in words, acknowledges that the Savior is “Lord, Lord” but, in actions, denies his lordship (see 13:25; D&C 41:5).

6:47 cometh to me: The image is compelling. A person is to come to the Savior as an essential first step, a notion made all the more vivid because of those who moments ago, with huge effort, “sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him” (6:19).

heareth my sayings, and doeth them: It is abundantly evident that, as a second step, Jesus expects his hearers to obey him now. Anything different will certainly bring ruin (see 6:49; 3 Ne. 14:26-27). This notion receives support from the present participles that point to current action–hearing and doing–in contrast to the aorist or past tense participles in 6:49 that illumine past, unsatisfactory actions–heard and did nothing.

6:48 a man which built an house: The image of building, which Jesus appeals to here and elsewhere (see 20:17; Matt. 7:24-27; 3 Ne. 11:39; 14:24-27),[51] is one that cuts across cultural and geographical settings, applying in desert settings, wherein one must be cautious about seasonal rains and floods, as in Matt. 7:24-25, and in river valleys–“the stream”–that are envisioned here.[52] The point is not lost on the gathered throng who are evidently assembled only five miles west of the place where the Jordan River runs into the Sea of Galilee. The second element has to do with the house, essentially a person’s household or family (Greek oikia; Hebrew bayit). In this figurative sense, Jesus declares that a parent is obliged to create a home that rests on a sure foundation, which foundation is himself (see 18:29; Alma 8:20, 22; Moses 7:53; the Notes on 14:26; 18:20; the Analysis on 11:14-28 and 20:17-19).[53]

digged deep: Hellenistic-style homes in Palestine often featured a basement and stone walls with a tile roof.[54] Two verbs stand together here that give the sense of digging deep (Greek skaptō and bathynō).[55]

a rock: It is not difficult to see the pointer to Jesus himself as the bedrock or foundation stone (see 20:17-18; 2 Ne. 4:35; 28:28; Hel. 5:12; D&C 6:34; 50:44). The earliest allusion occurs in Moses 7:53 where the Lord calls himself “the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity.” In this latter passage, the Lord becomes the anchoring influence for a person’s ascent to heaven.[56] In a similar vein, the message of the gospel rests as a person’s spiritual anchor (see 2 Ne. 28:28; D&C 10:69; 11:16, 24; 18:4-5, 17; 33:12-13). One further implication is that the Savior can serve as a “sure foundation,” an expression from Jacob 4:16-17.

it was founded upon a rock: Some early manuscripts read “it was well founded,” with no appreciable difference in meaning. The reading here may come from Matthew 7:25.[57]

6:49 heareth, and doeth not: Jesus’ words imply that the person has come to him, as he notes in 6:47. The difference, of course, lies in the doing or not doing. Unlike his teaching in Matt. 7:26-27, Jesus does not call the unresponsive person “foolish” but lets the parable carry its own penetrating force to his hearers. Elsewhere, the warning is to those “who receive the oracles of God” and then treat them “as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, . . . and stumble when the storms descend, . . . and beat upon their house” (D&C 90:5; also 2 Ne. 28:28).

without a foundation: The type of house that Jesus envisions is probably a Hellenistic- style home that often features a lower floor or basement for which an owner “digged deep” (see the Note on 6:48).[58] Galilee is a place that sees a mixture of Jews and Gentiles, and Jesus himself has experience with building. Therefore, he must be acquainted with different building techniques, even if only by description or hearsay.

upon the earth: A comparison with Matthew’s “upon the sand” illustrates that Jesus is thinking here of a different building environment–in a river valley–wherein spring floods regularly lay down a new layer of soil. The end result is the same, of course, because a house built on top of such ground cannot stand against a strong flood.[59]

the stream: The stream of water (Greek potamos), in Jesus’ world, comes after a rain and fills the bottoms of the canyons or wadis with strong, raging torrents.[60]

the ruin of that house was great: Jesus’ final pronouncement of the sermon warns disciples strongly against spiritual foundations, particularly those undergirding families, that are inadequate to withstand the vicissitudes of life that will surely come, whether in the form of poverty, hunger, pain, temptations, or the despising acts of others (see 6:20-22). This observation receives support in other formulations of building on rock or sand where “the gates of hell” (Greek pylai hadou) stand open to receive those who build on loose soil (Matt. 16:18; especially 3 Ne. 11:39-40; 18:13; D&C 128:10-11; see the Note on 11:22).[61]


In the most emphatic spot, at the end of his sermon, the Savior turns deftly to the family, characterizing it as a “house” that needs a firm “foundation on a rock”–on spiritual bedrock (6:48). Although commentators have completely missed this aspect of Jesus’ words, the family stands front and center in the Greek term for house, oikia, and the roughly equivalent Hebrew word bayit.[62] For these terms carry firmly the metaphorical senses of home and household and family. Here Jesus appeals to us to secure the foundations of our families “on a rock” that lies “deep” in the earth, for that is the only way that our families will survive “the flood” and “the stream” that will pound against our homes in the forms of temptation and affliction (see 6:48-49; the Analysis on 11:14-28 and 20:17-19).

The opening verses of this section also offer figurative meanings for the terms “the poor,” those who “hunger now,” and those who “weep now” (6:20-21). We note above that “the poor” may be an early designation for Jesus’ disciples (see the Note on 6:20). But the sense may go deeper and mirror that of Matthew 5:3, “the poor in spirit,” that is, the truly humble.[63] Likewise, those who “hunger now” may be hungering “after righteousness,” though Jesus does not specifically say this (Matt. 5:6). Similarly, those who “weep now” may be weeping because they sense a lack of spiritual underpinnings or, in total contrast, because they feel to rejoice.

In these opening verses, Jesus turns the social order upside down (see 6:20-26). The accepted order envisions the wealthy and powerful as the truly favored. Rather, as we find in the quotation of Isaiah 40:3-5 and its implications for the arrival of the Baptist (see 3:4-6), the coming of John and Jesus alters strikingly both the social and especially the religious landscape. The degradation and pain suffered by the poor and vulnerable will be reversed. Moreover, the spiritual status quo now finds a new resting place, settling far away from the halls of power and influence (see the Analysis on 3:1-6). It begins effectively with the “word of God” coming to John “in the wilderness” (3:2). Instead of a top-down movement of spiritual blessings from temple priests and other religious leaders, Jesus will graciously share such blessings directly with the lowly, the humble, the seekers.[64]

In a different vein, the relationship between Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5-7) and his Sermon on the Plain remains a nettlesome problem that has escaped solution, and may never be solved. Most commentators accept the view that the two reports are versions of the same sermon or set of teachings, delivered very early to disciples at a hilly spot in Galilee.[65] Although the similarities of both content and locale may lead us to see them as the same sermon, enough differences exist to suggest that the two are independent from one another.[66] In fact, as I read the texts, the locales of the sermons lie about three miles apart. And the strongly different character of the two suggests that their current shape is not due merely to the editorial efforts of Matthew and Luke, but to their sources.

The joining of the sermons, as if one and the same, rests on the apparent and, in my view, rather flimsy assumption that Jesus typically utters something only once, not repeating himself on different occasions and to new audiences. Such an assumption begs to be challenged. Anyone who pursues a career in teaching soon learns that repeating the same or similar material in different contexts becomes a common experience. Why should we assume something different for Jesus?

For Latter-day Saints, the integrity of the Sermon on the Mount is secure.[67] Why? Because the Risen Jesus delivers an almost identical discourse in the New World. The striking similarities assure readers that Jesus delivers such a sermon to his Old World hearers, much as Matthew records it.[68] Naturally, this observation does not solve the question about the relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain, but it does establish the integrity of the Sermon on the Mount and pulls it out of the creative, editorial hands of Matthew, where many modern commentators seek to place it. On this view, we can begin with the Sermon on the Mount as a fixed point in Jesus’ career and then ask the next question: Is the Sermon on the Plain a variant of the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps drawn from Matthew’s Gospel, or from a common source, and then reshaped by Luke into its current form?

Topography may offer one key for approaching an answer. According to Matthew’s report, before uttering the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is traveling “about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues” (Matt. 4:23), a line that points to a broad field of activity rather than a precise locale. The words that “his fame went throughout all Syria” and, by implication, that people from there “brought unto him all sick people” (Matt. 4:24), are geographically vague because, in Jesus’ day, Syria lies northward from Galilee and covers a huge area.[69] Hence, Matthew’s geographic notes immediately before the sermon do not help us to locate the Sermon on the Mount except to say that Jesus “went up into a mountain” to deliver it (Matt. 5:1). Instead, it is Matthew’s description following the sermon that offers a geographic context.

Matthew writes that Jesus comes “down from the mountain,” cleanses “a leper,” and then “entered into Capernaum” (Matt. 8:1-5). A reader comes away with the impression that the sermon somehow connects to the area north of Capernaum because that is where “the mountain” near the town rises up. To the south, of course, lies the Sea of Galilee. To the east and west of town stretches a narrow shore-line plain that features a road along which, east of town, the customs house is perched where Levi is employed (see 5:27 and the Note thereon). Hence, in Matthew’s scheme, Jesus apparently delivers the Sermon on the Mount somewhere on the slopes north of Capernaum.

The story about cleansing the leper, which but follows the Sermon on the Mount (see 5:12-16; Matt. 8:1-4), does not really help us. According to Mark, before Jesus encounters this man, he is preaching “in their synagogues throughout all Galilee” and, after the cleansing, he retreats to “desert places” before returning to Capernaum (Mark 1:39, 45; 2:1). On his part, Luke plainly implies that the cleansing occurs in the neighborhood of Capernaum, but he may be depending on Mark for this story of cleansing. Luke repeats the story immediately after recounting Peter’s calling at the lakeside, an event that must happen at Capernaum because that is where Peter resides and enjoys access to his tools and other equipment for his fishing trade (see the Note on 5:1). By placing the two stories together–Peter’s calling (see 5:1-11) and the cleansing of the leper (see 5:12-15)–Luke plainly ties the cleansing to the vicinity of Capernaum. But Mark’s vague references to geography may undercut attempts to firmly locate the miracle at or near Capernaum.

Instead, we must examine the topography that emerges in Luke’s description of the setting of the Sermon on the Plain. We note first of all the story of the disciples picking grain on the Sabbath (see 6:1-5). The area must have been level enough for farmers to plant grain. But Jesus and his followers may have moved from such a place when, apparently on the next Sabbath, “he entered into the synagogue and taught” (6:6). Here he heals the man with the withered right hand and then withdraws “into a mountain to pray” (6:12). From this height “he came down with them [the Twelve whom he had chosen], and stood in the plain” (6:17). With these details in mind, we look at the topography of the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the region where Jesus evidently delivers the Sermon on the Mount, as noted above.

There is no promising region east of Capernaum where, within two miles, a person encounters the Jordan River which runs into the Sea of Galilee at this point.[70] Rather, three miles or so to the west of Capernaum lies a region that matches Luke’s description of Jesus ascending “a mountain to pray” and then descending with the Twelve to “the plain” (6:12, 17). There, beyond the northwest shore of the lake, the mountainous terrain rises sharply from a broad maritime plain, called the Valley of Ginosar or Valley of Gennesaret, and matches Luke’s remembered specifications for the setting of Jesus’ sermon recorded in chapter six.

So far, then, the topography of the two sermons differs and, according to what remains of geographical memory, points to settings three or four miles apart. But topography is not the only point of separation. Two other elements invite a similar conclusion, the nature of the audience and the contents of the sermons. In introducing the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew writes that Jesus delivers his words in the company of “the multitudes” and “his disciples,” of whom he chooses four before that moment (Matt. 4:18-22; 5:1). Luke brings a very different audience into the picture, implying a dissimilar occasion. First, during the prior morning, Jesus chooses the Twelve, whom Luke identifies (see Luke 6:13-16). The Twelve make up part of the assemblage. In addition, he specifies that the gathered crowd includes other “disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon,” meaning that people come long distances from the south and north to hear him (6:17). We are left with the sense that, within a few weeks, Jesus’ reputation reaches a very large number of people, a fact that Luke stresses early on (see 4:14, 37; 5:15).

The contents of the two sermons, although very similar in some passages, stand apart in significant ways. Only a few dimensions draw our attention here. Unlike in Matthew, where the beatitudes stand as unified sentinels (see Matt. 5:3-11), in Luke they are balanced by a series of woes, and are many fewer: Luke’s four in contrast to Matthew’s eight. Moreover, according to Luke, Jesus heals a number of people “of their diseases” and “unclean spirits” just before delivering his sermon (Luke 6:17-18). Matthew reports no such event. Further, Jesus’ words in Luke do not include any of the contrasts with the old law, and do not even mention the Mosaic Law, whereas these elements receive strong emphasis in Matthew’s record (see Matt. 5:17-45). In addition, although the two sermons feature Jesus’ commands not to judge others (see 6:37-42; Matt. 7:1-5), Luke’s report does not touch on almsgiving or prayer or fasting, as we find in Matthew (see Matt. 6:1-18). Furthermore, although the two sermons present Jesus’ teachings about the golden rule and corrupt fruit and building a house (see 6:31, 43-44, 47-49; Matt. 7:12, 15-20, 24-27), only in Matthew do we find an extended treatment of what it means to say “Lord, Lord” (see 6:46; 13:25-30; Matt. 7:21-23). In this light, and in light of the respective settings and audiences of the sermons, it is most difficult to argue persuasively that the two accounts draw on a common source.

Another point is worth making. Although a person can point to additions introduced by the Joseph Smith Translation into Luke’s version of the sermon, with the effect of drawing Luke’s record closer to the language of Matthew’s rendition, such changes are minor and do not affect the overall character of the Sermon on the Plain. For example, the JST adds the expression “and persecute you” (JST 6:28) to Jesus’ command that his followers “pray for them which despitefully use you,” making the language identical to Matt. 5:44. Additionally, later in the sermon the JST adjusts Luke’s expression “what thank have ye” (6:32) to “what reward have you,” an almost identical wording to Matt. 5:46, a change that actually mirrors the intent of Luke’s underlying Greek text (see the Note on 6:32). But such adjustments do not appreciably change the overall tenor of the Sermon on the Plain and, because they are scattered and almost random, cannot be appealed to as evidence that the two sermons go back to a common source. Rather, as argued above, the topography by itself drives the point that Jesus delivers the sermons to different audiences and in different places. Moreover, the structure of the sermons differs strikingly. In sum, it makes more sense to conclude that Jesus offers similar teaching on different occasions.[71]

Fitzmyer calls the Sermon on the Plain “loose and rambling.”[72] But a close examination shows the Savior organizes his sermon into three broad subjects. In the first, he deals with this world and its vicissitudes through a series of beatitudes and woes (see 6:20-26). In the second, he unveils his command to love enemies as an imitation of what the Father does (see 6:27-38). In the third, he treats our treatment of others, including our building of a house because its soundness of structure affects all who reside therein, including ourselves and others (see 6:39-49).

In the first section, the Savior cleverly balances four statements on happiness with a contrasting set of four statements on unhappiness, clearly an aid to recalling them at a later date. Jesus’ concerns with poor and rich, weeping and laughing, point forcefully to the concept that the happiness he offers does not connect to power or status in this world.[73] In fact, he stands as the one who offers and then guarantees the “reward” which “is great in heaven” (6:23). This whole section brims with overflowing abundance, though not as the world presents it.

In the second part, Jesus explores the parameters of what it means to love. In a word, it means to imitate the Father who “is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil” (6:35). Blessing “them that curse” and offering “the other” cheek to a person who lashes out and giving “to every man that asketh” characterize the Father’s generous, expansive, response (6:28-30). Can we do less? Are we merely to “love them which love” us and “do good to them which do good” to us (6:32-33)?[74] Not in the spirit of true discipleship. In fact, the observation that Jesus does not ask his followers to do what he does not do implies boldly that, during the prior night, he is already praying for those from the synagogue who “were filled with madness,” a prayer that finds its full public voice at the end of his ministry, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (6:11; 23:34; see the Notes on 6:12, 27-28; 22:50; 23:34).

In the third portion, the Savior treats on one level how a person deals with others, especially from a position of pride or self-aggrandizement (see 6:39-49).[75] His examples are compellingly simple and direct. He requires that all ask the following. Do I pridefully offer my help to a person needing direction when I myself am blinded, particularly by the log in my eye? Do I arrogantly equate myself with my master? In my blind state, do I see myself as a “good tree” that produces “good fruit” when, in fact, with a little self-introspection, I would be able to see my own “corrupt” ways that taint “the treasure of [my] heart” (6:43, 45)? For the sake of impressing others, and even myself, do I profess my loyalty to the Savior by crying out “Lord, Lord” when, disdainfully ignoring good sense, I build a house of loyalty and faith “upon the earth” whose foundation is therefore insecure and subject to the roiling currents of opposition and trials that will surely swirl around my house (6:46, 49)?

Jesus’ two sermons also disclose a difference in emphasis that lies in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. It has to do with the characterization of the divine kingdom that Jesus represents. Exclusively in Matthew, Jesus speaks of the “kingdom of heaven” (see Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 19; 7:21; 10:7; etc.). The other three Gospels preserve quotes about the “kingdom of God.”[76] Although it is possible to see no difference between these two expressions,[77] they invite more than a passing glance. The expression “kingdom of heaven” evidently emphasizes the tie between God’s earthly kingdom and that over which he presides in heaven, as well as its location in the celestial regions. On the other hand, the words “kingdom of God” point directly to God as the proprietor of the kingdom, the one in charge. Admittedly, the difference is rather subtle because both expressions describe a divine entity that binds God’s work in heaven with complementary efforts on the earth.

One other topic of the Sermon on the Plain stirs a comment. For the first recorded time in his preaching, the Savior draws in living plants as metaphors–“good tree . . . corrupt tree . . . thorns . . . bramble bush” (6:43-44). Later he will appeal to lilies and to living and dry grass (see 12:27-28), to sown seed and to mustard plants (see 8:5-8; 13:18-19; 17:6), to unproductive and green fig trees (see 13:6-9; 21:29-31). All such appeals, of course, derive from and are made vivid by the agrarian character of his society. But there may be more. Beneath such references one senses subtle threads which reach back to the past acts of God wherein he plants on the earth “grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit” (Gen. 1:12). All such plants are to be for the good of creatures that appear later on the earth. More importantly for Jesus’ words, the planting of plants is directly tied to God and his sacred acts of creation. The vista of divine abundance appears once again in God’s efforts to provide for the needs of his children. All of this seems to run just under the surface of Jesus’ words about trees and grasses and seeds.

[1]TDNT, 1:186.

[2] Faulring, Jackson, and Matthews, Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 157.

[3]TDNT, 4:367-70; TLNT, 2:432-44; Morris, Luke, 139-40.

[4]TLNT, 2:438-39.

[5] Strathearn, “4Q521 and What It Might Mean for Q 3-7,” 406-8.

[6]Green, Luke, 264-66.

[7]Jeffrey R. Holland, “Atonement of Jesus Christ,” in EM, 1:85; Johnson, Luke, 107.

[8]Marshall, Luke, 252; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:634.

[9]Marshall, Luke, 252, against Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:635.

[10]TDNT, 5:454-55.

[11]Schürer, History, 2:400.

[12]BAGD, 573.

[13]Bultmann, History, 110, 127, 150-51, holds that 6:22-23 is a late addition to a set of authentic sayings of Jesus.

[14]TLNT, 2:437-38.

[15]Marshall, Luke, 254; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:635.

[16]TDNT, 2:944-46, 950-53; Morris, Luke, 140; Johnson, Luke, 107; John W. Welch, ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1992), 117-19.

[17]Liddell and Scott, Lexicon, 1611.

[18]See, for example, Deut. 4:30; 30:10; 1 Kgs. 8:35; 2 Kgs. 17:13; 23:25; Isa. 9:13; 59:20; Jer. 3:10, 14; 18:8; 31:19; Ezek. 3:19, 20; 14:6; Amos 4:6-11 (negative); TDOT, 14:475, 480, 485-86, 492-96, 500-1, 506-9.

[19]TLNT, 2:438.

[20]TLNT, 2:441-44.

[21]TDNT, 6:328; TLNT, 2:443.

[22]TDNT 2:828; Marshall, Luke, 256; Morris, Luke, 141.

[23]TDNT, 5:798; Marshall, Luke, 256.

[24]Morris, Luke, 141.

[25]Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:636-37; Morris, Luke, 141.

[26]Morris, Luke, 141.

[27]Johnson, Luke, 108.

[28]TPJS, 95-97.

[29]Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:637-38; TLNT, 1:8-14.

[30]Johnson, Luke, 108.

[31]Johnson, Luke, 108-9.

[32]Plummer, Luke, 185; BAGD, 838.

[33]Plummer, Luke, 185; BAGD, 376-77.

[34]BAGD,191-93; Smyth, Greek Grammar, §1864a; Blass and Debrunner, Greek Grammar, §§335-36.

[35]BAGD, 23-24.

[36]For appearances of this law in other ancient sources, see Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:639-40; Johnson, Luke, 109.

[37]Morris, Luke, 144; Johnson, Luke, 109.

[38]BAGD, 83; TDNT, 2:533-34.

[39]TDNT, 5:161; Marshall, Luke, 265.

[40]Green, Luke, 275.

[41]TDNT 3:824-26; Marshall, Luke, 267; Morris, Luke, 146; for the metaphorical sense of God’s bosom in Moses 7:24, 30-31, see Draper, Brown, and Rhodes, Pearl of Great Price, 127.

[42]Marshall, Luke, 267.

[43]BAGD, 418-19.

[44]BAGD, 816-17.

[45]Liddell and Scott, Lexicon, 881; Plummer, Luke, 191; BAGD, 406.

[46]Liddell and Scott, Lexicon, 443; Plummer, Luke, 191; BAGD, 202.

[47]TDNT, 8:559-70; TLNT, 3:406-13.

[48]BAGD, 749; TDNT, 7:94-97; Marshall, Luke, 272.

[49]BAGD, 773.

[50]BAGD, 362; TDNT, 3:136-38.

[51]Other references to erecting buildings on solid foundations include 2 Ne. 28:28; Jacob 4:15-17; Hel. 5:12.

[52]Marshall, Luke, 275; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:644.

[53]TDNT, 5:131-32; TDOT, 2:111, 113-15; TLOT, 1:235.

[54]Dennis E. Groh, “Palestine in the Byzantine Period,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, ed. Eric M. Meyers, 5 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 4:229-30; Ann Killebrew, “Qasrin,” in Meyers, Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology, 4:382-83.

[55]BAGD, 130, 760-61.

[56]Draper, Brown, and Rhodes, Pearl of Great Price, 142-43.

[57]Plummer, Luke, 193.

[58]Jeremias, Parables, 26-27; Marshall, Luke, 275.

[59]Avoiding structures on sand appears in 2 Ne. 28:28; 3 Ne. 11:40; compare D&C 90:5.

[60]TDNT, 6:603.

[61]TDNT, 6:924-28; also 3:744-47.

[62]TDNT, 5:131-32; TDOT, 2:111, 113-15.

[63] Stein, Luke, 200-1.

[64]Green, Luke, 264-66.

[65]Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:627-32; Johnson, Luke, 110-112.

[66]Morris, Luke, 138-39.

[67]John W. Welch, The Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple (Surrey, Eng.: Ashgate Publishing, 2009), 1-14, 183-221.

[68]Welch, Illuminating the Sermon.

[69]Aharoni and others, Carta Bible Atlas, maps 243, 249, 251, 253, 270.

[70]We hear little of Jesus’ activities to the east of the Jordan River’s mouth, and certainly not in the context of Jesus’ two sermons. Jesus does go later to the east shore of the lake where he heals the man with the legion of devils (see 8:26-40) and, still later, withdraws to an uninhabited area near Bethsaida with the Twelve, a town on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee (see 9:10). Although Luke does not tie Peter’s confession of Jesus’ messiahship to Caesarea Philippi (see 9:18-21), both Mark and Matthew do (see Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30). This town lies at one of the three sources of the Jordan River and represents a crossing of sorts to the east bank of the river. Even so, we should see most of Jesus’ ministry occurring west of the Jordan River.

[71]Plummer, Luke, 437; TDNT, 2:631, footnote 29; 4:326; Jeremias, Parables, 107-8, 115, 202; Marshall, Luke, 701; Morris, Luke, 299; Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, 286.

[72]Fitzmyer, Luke, 1:628.

[73]TLNT, 2:438-44.

[74]Green, Luke, 273-74.

[75]For a different view that emphasizes the inner nature of the disciple, see Marshall, Luke, 267-68.

[76]For example, see Mark 1:15; 4:11, 26, 30; 9:1, 47; Luke 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:1, 10; 9:2, 11, 27, 60, 62; John 3:3, 5.

[77]Dodd, Parables, 29.