“Heard the Things Which I Taught Before I Ascended to My Father”

Brant Gardner

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew there is a change in location and situation. Jesus comes down from the Mount, changing the location. The people follow him, but the topic becomes healing rather than teaching. In the New World there is no shift in location. Jesus was there with the Nephites, and at the end of the Sermon he continues to be there. What we have is his transition from the inserted text into the remainder of the communication to the Nephites.

Jesus tells them that they have “heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father.” As we have seen, there are parts of the Matthean Sermon on the Mount that would have required some alteration for the New World Nephites to have understood the message. Nevertheless, on the whole, the Sermon on the Mount presents a concentrated vista of the gospel in both the way that the gospel relates to the Law of Moses as well as in the way Christians are to lead their spiritual life. The Sermon on the Mount is, over all, representative of the teaching of Jesus, and Jesus here tells us that he did teach them what he taught those of Israel during his lifetime. The Sermon on the Mount is therefore a succinct representation of those teachings, even if some of the specifics had been altered to the understanding of a New World audience, which alterations we do not have in our text.

The final sentence of this transition does recall the meaning of the final section of the Sermon on the Mount. Just was we are to build a house on the rock of the gospel rather than on sand, we are to remember and do the things that Jesus had just taught.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon