Sermon on the Mount Location

Sermon on the Mount Location

Lake of Gennesaret Capernaum
Sermon on the Mount location

Sermon on the Mount Location

Even among non-Christians, there is general consensus that Jesus' sermon on the mount (see below) is the greatest moral discourse ever given. Is there such consensus on the location of Jesus' sermon on the mount?

The domed Church of the Beatitudes (left in the photo) atop the hill rising out the Sea of Galilee/Lake of Gennesaret (far right) is claimed to be the location of Jesus' sermon on the mount. While that is a possibility, this location for the sermon on the mount, also known as the Beatitudes, has far less evidence than those that support the location of Jesus' tomb and Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified.

What we do know from the Bible about the location of the sermon on the mount is that it was on a mountain near the Lake of Gennesaret and Capernaum, the fishing town located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Since a location northeast of the Sea of Galilee is likely to have referenced Bethsaida, the fishing town near Capernaum and east of it, it is likely to have been northwest of the Lake of Gennesaret.

The precision of the location aside, how were "great multitudes" (below) able to hear Jesus' sermon on the mount? Jesus gave his sermon long before the microphone was invented, so did he have to shout at the top his lungs?

The answer is no. The Lake of Gennesaret is shaped like a bowl and has strong winds that serve as a natural amplifier. A firm voice spoken downwind carries a fair distance. After overhearing a tour leader explain this to his group, I walked about 70 yards downwind from him. Sure enough, I could still hear the man quite clearly, and he wasn't shouting.

So when Jesus preached from a boat facing a crowd on the shore as He did below, the wind is likely to have been blowing in from the Lake of Gennesaret:

So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. (Luke 5:1-3)

And when Jesus preached atop a mountain near the Sea of Galilee at a crowd seated downhill from Him, the wind is likely to have been blowing toward the Sea of Galilee.

* And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him - from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
   Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
   Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
   Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
   Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
   Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
   Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
   Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..."
(Matthew 4:23-5:10 - click here to read the rest.)

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