The Sermon on the Plain.

by K.W. Leslie, 19 August

My translation of the Sermon on the Plain.

I don’t know whether Jesus preached this as a whole other sermon from the Sermon on the Mount, or whether Luke heard a short version of that sermon… or whether Matthew heard a long version of this sermon. My guess is Jesus gave the same sermon lots of times; shorter or longer versions depending on the location and audience. So this is kinda the short version.

Same as the Sermon on the Mount, I translated it so I could study the original text in greater depth. Feel free to read it in other translations. Compare them to one another so you can see the translators’ consensus—and that gives you a better idea of what Jesus means, than simply reading one “best” translation. Then follow him; not us translators.

Luke 6.12-49 KWL
12 It happened in those days Jesus himself came out to the hill to pray, and he was spending the night in prayer with God. 13 When day came, Jesus called his students and chose 12 of them, whom he named apostles.
14 Simon who was also named Peter, and Andrew his brother.
James. John. Philip. Bartholemew.
15 Matthew. Thomas. James bar Alpheus. Simon who was called a zealot.
16 Judas bar James. And Judas the Kerioti, who became a traitor.
17 Coming down with the apostles, Jesus stood on level ground, with many crowds of his students, a plethora of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, the coastline of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They came to hear Jesus—and be cured from their diseases. Those tormented by unclean spirits were dealt with, 19 and all the crowd sought to touch Jesus, for his power came out and cured everyone. 20 Jesus, lifting his eyes to his students, said:
“The poor: How awesome!—God’s kingdom is yours.
21 Those hungry now: How awesome!—you’ll be filled.
Those crying now: How awesome!—you’ll laugh.
22 When the people hate you, segregate you, condemn and throw out your names as if evil,
because of me: How awesome you are!
23 Rejoice on that day! Skip! Look at your great reward in heaven!
Their ancestors did likewise to the prophets.
24 But the wealthy: How awful for you—you’ve been encouraged long enough.
25 Those who’ve been full now: How awful for you—you’ll be hungry.
Those laughing now: How awful for you—you’ll cry.
26 When the people say everything good about you: How awful.
Their ancestors did likewise to the fake prophets.
27 But I tell you listeners: Love your enemies. Do good to your haters.
28 Bless your cursers. Pray for your mistreaters.
29 To one who hits you on the jaw, submit all the more.
To one who takes your robe and tunic from you, don’t stop them.
30 Give to everyone who asks you. Don’t demand payback from those who take what’s yours.
31 Just as you want people doing for you, do likewise for them.
32 If you love your lovers, how’s this an act of grace from you?—sinners love their lovers.
33 When you benefact your benefactors, how’s this grace from you?—sinners do so themselves.
34 When you lend from one from whom you hope to receive back, how’s this grace from you?
Sinners lend to sinners so they can receive reciprocity.
35 In contrast: Love your enemies. Do good. Lend, never expecting reciprocity.
Your reward will be great, and you’ll be the Most High’s children:
He’s kind to the ungrateful and evil.
36 Be compassionate like your Father is compassionate.
37 Don’t criticize, and you won’t be criticized.
Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged.
Forgive, and you’ll be forgiven.
38 Give, and it’ll be given you:
They’ll pour a good measurement, packed in, shaken, overflowing, into your apron.
The measurement you measure with, will measure you again.
39 Jesus also said this analogy to them: “Can a blind person guide the blind
without the both falling into a hole?
40 A student doesn’t exceed the teacher;
once fully trained, everyone is like their teacher.
41 Why do you see the wood chip in your brother’s eye,
yet not notice the support beam in your own eye?
42 How can you tell your brother, ‘Let me get the chip out of your eye’,
yourself not seeing there’s a beam in your eye?
You hypocrite, first get the beam out of your eye!
And you’ll see straight enough to get out the chip in your brother’s eye.
43 For a good tree doesn’t grow rotten fruit, nor a rotten tree grow good fruit:
44 Each tree is known by its own fruit.
You don’t gather figs from thistles. You don’t reap grape bunches from thornbushes.
45 The good person brings up good things from the good treasury of a good mind.
The evil brings up evil things out of an evil mind.
From the mind’s overflow, their mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Master, master’?
You don’t do a thing I say.
47 Everyone coming to me, hearing my words, doing them: I’ll show you what it’s like.
48 It’s like a person building a house, who dug down and put a foundation on bedrock.
When the tide came, the river burst on that house,
and wasn’t strong enough to shake it, because it was well-built.
49 Those who hear, who don’t do:
It’s like a person building a house on land without a foundation.
The river burst on it, and next it collapsed.
The destruction of that house became great.”

Yep, there are some obvious differences in the way Jesus presented the material. Like I said, it varied by location and audience. His beatitudes in Matthew were about how awesome the kingdom was for the needy; his beatitudes here include how it’s not so awesome for the greedy. No doubt there were greedy folks in this audience.

So when it comes to following Jesus’s teachings, we need to look at both these sermons. And his parables, and his theological lessons, and his demonstrated actions; let’s strive for the bigger picture of Jesus instead of only the red letters. But neither should we bury him under 20 centuries of navel-gazing and loophole-making: Let’s follow Jesus. Study his sermons. Seek his will.