During the period of his activity in Galilee, Jesus’ typical teaching appears to have included at least parts of what has become known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” Matthew (5:1) specifically reported that Jesus ascended a mountain upon seeing the crowds, seated himself, and then, with his disciples near him, began to teach. Although his words were directed to the disciples, seemingly the acoustical properties of the location made it possible for the rest of the people to hear his strong voice. (Matthew 5:2)
Luke included much of the same material in his considerably shorter account but mentioned Jesus and many of his disciples being in a plain and surrounded by a large crowd from Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal regions of Tyre and Sidon. (Luke 6:17-19) This suggests that two separate occasions may have been involved. It was not unusual for Jesus to repeat vital aspects of his teaching as he traveled from place to place. (For examples of repeated teaching on other occasions and the differences between Matthew 5:1-7:29 and Luke 6:20-49, see the respective Notes sections.) Those who believe that Luke 6:20-49 and Matthew 5:1-7:29 relate to the same occasion commonly suggest that the plain mentioned in Luke’s account may have been a level area on the elevated site.