The Jews used to perform all three main virtues, charity, prayer, and fasting, ostentatiously. On Mondays and Thursdays, when a market was organized, the Pharisees demonstrably, with disfigured faces, stood in the streets showing that they were fasting, asked for water or bread from traveling poor salespersons and gave that food or water to others, while in the Temple, they prayed in such a way that everyone could see them. The Lord Jesus speaks against all of this in the Sermon on the Mount.
The broadcast presents the next request in the Lord's Prayer, that is, of keeping us away from temptations. It is interesting that in the Book of Genesis we see that God tempts Abraham, and the Gospel tells about Jesus' temptations in the desert, while the Epistle of St. James the Apostle says God doesn't tempt anyone and is not Himself tempted by the evil one. Then what is temptation, whom does it come from, and what to do in temptations?
Today's broadcast presents the only earthly request in the Lord's Prayer, that is, the request for daily bread, telling that we should not only ask bread for ourselves but also for our brothers and sisters because we begin the Lord's Prayer by saying "Our" Father. The presenter also talks on asking forgiveness for our sins, reminding us that we ask God to forgive us in the same way as we ourselves forgive those who have trespassed against us.
The broadcast explains the first three requests of the Lord's Prayer – on the holiness of God's name, on the coming of God's Kingdom, and on the establishment of His will. Also the first words of the prayer, "Our Father," are discussed and it becomes clear that all people are part of the same God's creation and are equal. The phrases "God's Kingdom" and "Kingdom of Heaven" used by the synoptic evangelists are also explained, and their application and meaning are presented.
The broadcast presents the Lord Jesus Christ's teaching on prayer. Jesus warns His followers not to pray ostentatiously like the hypocrites and be loquacious like the pagans. He instructs us to enter our inner room, close the doors, that is, all the means of communication with external world, listen to our inner voice, stand face to face with our impurity, errors, and sins, and embark on the path leading to repentance and self-purification.
What was charity like in Jesus' times and what is it like nowadays? What should the true Christian charity be like? Can we consider giving money to beggars in the streets charity? What does Christ demand from those who perform charity? What is the goal of secrecy of charity performance so that even your right hand should not know what the left hand does? The broadcast answers these and related other questions.
The broadcast covers the last passage dedicated to the true teaching of the Law. Jesus instructs to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for them who torture and persecute us. What does it mean to love enemies? The Greek word for love has at least four meanings. Which is the meaning of the word "love" used by Jesus when speaking about love for enemies?
Jesus also warns all those who love only their relatives and friends, thinking they do a great thing, while they become like the tax-collectors and sinners by this.
The broadcast discusses the most interesting passage (Mt 5:38-42) of the Sermon on the Mount that is related to the law of retaliation: "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." This is also the most problematic passage that has caused contradictory emotions and explanations. The Lord Jesus introduces another commandment instead, which instructs to also offer the left cheek when being slapped on the right one. What does Jesus mean by this? Is this a demand for a perfect obedience or silence when human dignity is trampled? Or does this have another meaning?
The broadcast discusses the habit of taking oaths that was common among the Jews. The Jews took oaths, for example, by Jerusalem, heaven and earth. Just as in the previous passage of the Gospel, here also, the Lord Jesus Christ, without rejecting the Law of the Old Testament, raises the habit of taking oaths to the level of simply promising that one's yes should be yes and no should be no.
The broadcast presents the interpretation of the verses 27-32 of the 5th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Christ explains the commandment "You shall not commit adultery," speaks on the theme of sexual desire, and shows how to fight against this sin.
The broadcast presents the interpretation of the verses 21-26 of the 5th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Christ explains the commandment "You shall not kill" and teaches us not to be angry with our brother in vain and be reconciled with him.
The broadcast presents the interpretation of the verses 17-20 of the 5th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. It explains the attitude that Christ demonstrated toward the commandments of the Mosaic Law.
The broadcast presents the interpretation of the verses 13-16 of the 5th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Whom did Christ address these words to: "You are the salt of the earth," and "You are the light of the world"? And what is required of those who are meant to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world?
The broadcast presents the interpretation of the seventh and eighth Beatitudes. It explains who are those that are persecuted for righteousness and those who are defamed and wrongfully slandered for the sake of the Lord.
The broadcast presents the seventh of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Mt 5:9). Who are the real peacemakers? Aren't the political figures and governors of countries that get Nobel Prizes for peace the ones who give the orders of the biggest wars? They can't be peacemakers. Then what is peace according to Christianity and who are the creators of peace?
The broadcast presents the sixth of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Mt 5:8). The heart, which is spiritually the center of our conscience and of moral image, can be pure only through repentance. We should also, with King David, repeat the words of the Psalm 51: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
The broadcast presents the fifth of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Mt 5:7). The history of the Armenian people is full of famous people who were merciful. The names of Catholicos Nerses the Great, King Ashot the Merciful, and Hovhannes Tumanyan are enough to convince that there have always been merciful people among us and they exist nowadays also. We must be merciful because the greatest mercy was shown toward us by God Himself who gave His life on the cross for our sake.
The broadcast presents the fourth of the beatitudes: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Mt 5:6). The person who is hungry and thirsty is alive. Also in a spiritual sense, those who are not indifferent and always hunger and thirst for righteousness, fight against falsehood and deceit are alive and have set their feet on the way of salvation.
The broadcast presents the third of the beatitudes: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." (Mt 5:5). The Lord Himself instructs people to be meek and humble: "Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in spirit" (Mt 11:29). God Himself defends those who are meek. It is also important to remember that a true Christian who is meek and humble like the Lord will inherit the Earth, while inheritance is not earned but is given freely as a gift.
The second Beatitude refers to those who mourn. In the beginning of the broadcast, a passage on the second Beatitude is read from the book "The Pearl of the Kingdom of Heaven" by Khrimyan Hayrik. Who are those who mourn, and why does the Lord Jesus Christ bless them? Whom do we imagine nowadays when reading about mourners, and who was meant by Jesus Himself when He talked about them?
Jesus withdrew from the crowds that followed Him and began to preach to His disciples on a mountain that is called now Mount of Beatitudes. In the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew and Luke the Evangelists present the Beatitudes pronounced by Jesus. The broadcast discusses the first of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mt 5:3). The chapter on the first Beatitude from the book "The Pearl of the Kingdom of Heaven" by Khrimyan Hayrik is also read.
The broadcast presents the episode about the election of the twelve apostles. Jesus goes up on a mountain and there He elects twelve disciples among His followers to be always with Him and be sent by Him to preach. It is interesting that Jesus' disciples belonged to different strata of society. Though most of them were fishermen from Galilee, there were also Matthew the tax-collector and Simon the Zealot (and zealots hated the tax-collectors that served the Roman Empire).
The Synoptic Gospels present an episode where Jesus again "works" on a Saturday. This time, He heals the dried up hand of a man in the Synagogue. We aren't told who this man is, but one of the Church Fathers, Jerome, in his famous Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, says that, according to the apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews, this man was a mason and the only earner in his family. He himself approached Jesus and asked for healing so that he might not go out and beg for alms.
Pharisees and scribes fasted each Monday and Thursday in a demonstrative manner. They whitened their faces and sprinkled ashes on their heads. But Jesus' disciples did not fast, because, in the words of Christ, "can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days." (Mark 2:19-20).
The Jews also demonstratively observed the commandment of keeping the Sabbath. That is why they reproached the disciples of Christ for plucking ears of corn on Saturday but received Christ's following answer: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).