Fran Angelico, Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount:
After Jesus chose His disciples, He immediately set about the task of deprogramming them of all the layers of the Mishnah and manmade laws that had encrusted the word of God, and His Kingdom. So He took them up on a mountainside to a level place by the Sea of Galilee. Crowds begain to gather and listen in as well (many came from far away for healing and his teachigns) as Jesus then delivered the greatest sermon ever preached. The central theme of His sermon was delivered within the context of the Kingdom of Heaven/God beginning with the beatitudes and the heart of a disciple. Here He delivered the programmatic passage in Matthew 5:17-20 to unlock the entire sermon.
Jesus explained that He had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but that He came to fulfill them, for He is the culmination of the Law and that everything written in them pointed to Him and would thus be accomplished in Him. For this reason, Jesus is the sole interpreter of the Old Testament. Jesus also explained that righteousness is still of utmost importance, in fact perfection is the requirement to be in God's presence. In this sense, one's righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees; however, whereas the Pharisees were attempting to conform to an external standard through a works based rightouesness, Jesus introduced the necessary conformity and assimilation of Himself through a grace based rightousness. In other words, it's all about the heart, an internal change that then manifests itself externally. Entrance to the kingdom thus rested on having perfect righteousness, but that which came through Christ and His sacrifice on the cross, for no man can enter the kingdom of God by his own efforts, for all of sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The crowds were stunned and amazed at His teachings, for Jesus taught like noone they had ever heard before, quoting using the law in all they did, instead Jesus spoke and taught as one who had authority on and over the topic to which He spoke.