Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “Blessed are those who are poor. The kingdom of God is theirs. . .Luke 6:20
Luke 6:20 marks the beginning of what is technically called Luke’s Lesser Interpolation. The first and shorter of his two big chunks of Luke’s material. Matthew takes 111 verses to cover the Sermon on the Mount. Luke takes 29 verses to cover the Sermon on the Plateau. Maybe the Sermon on the Mount is more inspired because it was closer to heaven. Does my use of the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plateau mean that I think they are two different sermons? No. In fact much of what is in Matthew’s longer account of the sermon is found elsewhere in Luke. Luke knows the material but chooses to use it differently. There are some verses or sections found in Luke’s account of the sermon that are not in Matthew’s.
When it comes to the comparison of the sermons the relationship is as follows. Either:
- Jesus preached these sermons on two different days and Matthew and Luke reported in their separate and distinct accounts.
- Jesus preached the sermon once and Matthew and Luke had different sources for it.
- Jesus preached one sermon, Matthew and Luke had the same source for it but chose to use it and position it differently.
- Jesus preached something like this on many occasions and Matthew and Luke have chosen to present a sermon combo each in their own way.
My gut feeling is that 3) is the right answer. If that is the case we need to pay careful attention to how the material is used. If that is the case Matthew and Luke are telling us something through their arrangement of the sermon notes. Some feel it is natural that both Matthew and Luke treat the sermon differently. Matthew is writing for Jewish Christians while Luke is writing for the Gentiles, Theophilus, or for all God lovers (but not specifically Jewish). Because the Jewish material is left out of Luke’s account it makes it that much shorter. There are some people who feel that Luke is not summarizing the same sermon as Matthew at all. Through Luke’s account we can see that Jesus sometimes said the same thing on numerous different occasions. But even Matthew’s version is not the complete unabridged version because Luke has elements that Matthew doesn’t include.
I know what I think about it but I leave it to you to work out for yourself your conclusions on this passage as we work through it.
As I work my way through these sermon notes left for us by Luke on his iPad, or maybe it’s his iScroll, we will primarily stick to Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Plateau but when it is relevant or appropriate we will refer to what Matthew is doing too. Maybe it might be good to take time to read Luke’s sermon notes again before we start. The section that makes up Luke’s Shorter Interpolation is not just the sermon material, there is other material as well. It runs from Luke 6:20 to Luke 8:3. Take some time to look over it all before we start to pull it apart.
The highest reward for your labour is not what you get for doing it; it’s what you become by doing it!Rick Godwin
The secret to success is to start from scratch, and keep on scratching!Rick Godwin
Whatever we set our minds on eventually comes out of our mouths.Joyce Meyer