One day as the crowds were gathering, Jesus went up the mountainside with his disciples and sat down to teach them.
This is what he taught them:
3"God blesses those who realize their need for him, a for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.4God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them. 6God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full. 7God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. 9God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. 10God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. "
11"God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. 12Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too."
13"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14You are the light of the world -- like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. 15Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. 16In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."
17"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. 18I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God's law will remain until its purpose is achieved. 19So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God's laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven."
20"But I warn you -- unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can't enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!"
21"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' b22But I say, if you are angry with someone, c you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, d you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, e you are in danger of the fires of hell."
23"So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 25Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. 26I assure you that you won't be free again until you have paid the last penny."
27"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Do not commit adultery.' f28But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29So if your eye -- even if it is your good eye g -- causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your hand -- even if it is your stronger hand h -- causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."
31"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a letter of divorce.' i32But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
33"Again, you have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Do not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.' j34But I say, don't make any vows! If you say, 'By heaven!' it is a sacred vow because heaven is God's throne. 35And if you say, 'By the earth!' it is a sacred vow because the earth is his footstool. And don't swear, 'By Jerusalem!' for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36Don't even swear, 'By my head!' for you can't turn one hair white or black. 37Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Your word is enough. To strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something is wrong. k"
38"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.' l39But I say, don't resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. 40If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, m carry it two miles. 42Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow."
43"You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' n and hate your enemy. 44But I say, love your enemies! o Pray for those who persecute you! 45In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. 46If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47If you are kind only to your friends, p how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)