NOTE: Splitting this chapter as it is so long and so full. Will probably have to do this often with the gospels.
Matthew 5 Beginning of the sermon on the mount. Didn’t realize there was as much debate over it until I checked a few things with the commentaries. Issue is whether it is the same or a different discourse from that recorded in Luke, which springs from the issue of the gospels being different. I look at two facts as I see them. One, that the scripture is just what God wanted, all that He wanted, and only what He wanted. Two, that the scripture is written by men, used, inspired, and guided by the Holy Spirit, and thus needs to be issued from different viewpoints in order to get a fuller representation. We tend to remember those things which we deem important which may be different from what others remember. I think it was a single discourse. The fact that Matthew remembers more of it than Luke was able to discover isn’t an issue. Luke was able to find other times when Jesus apparently repeated some of the discourse and recorded parts then.
3-12 Called the Beatitudes, declarations of extreme blessedness or happiness. I get the idea that many see them as distinct and separate. I see them as a progression. Not my own idea. Read it once years ago and think it makes the most sense. Begins with those who realize their sinful state, poor in spirit, which is the beginning of salvation. They then mourn over their condition, become humble as they ask for forgiveness, then seek His righteousness. Upon salvation, they exhibit mercy, purity, and are peaceable. Consequently they will be persecuted for being a follower of Christ.
11 “…say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake”
Not just derision over being religious, but accusations of evil in order to destroy life and reputations. You never see as much glee among the masses as when they supposedly catch a careless Christian in the middle of some heinous sin. Whether the person is actually guilty or innocent is irrelevant to them. Jesus is hated by the world both outwardly and subconsciously. Any who try to live life based on His commands will encounter hostility from the world, even if not by direct reference. I don’t have to be preaching to be persecuted, I only have to be reflecting Jesus.
13 “…if the salt loses its flavor…”
Actions have consequences. A Godly reputation lost may not be restored. Sin can be forgiven, but the ability to influence others for Christ may be gone.
16 “Let your light so shine before men…”
Don’t keep the good news to yourself. You’ve been saved for yourself and for the redemption of others. Spread the word so others may know Christ.
17 “…I did not come to destroy but to fulfill”
Jesus didn’t come teaching a new gospel, but the same message that was proclaimed throughout the Old Testament. He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament. He was the ultimate sacrifice for man’s sin. Everything in the Old Testament points to Him.
19-20 “…least in the kingdom of heaven…great in the kingdom of heaven”
Interesting contrast. Importance stressed on making sure you keep the commandments and don’t take them lightly, especially to the point where you break them and tell others it’s OK to break them. One is called least and the other great, but both are in the kingdom of heaven. Following the law or attempting to do so, is outside of salvation. This is a good reply to those who think their salvation is a license to sin, or to those who say that grace allows you to do whatever you wish.
20 “…your righteousness exceeds…scribes and Pharisees…by no means enter the kingdom of heaven”
Here’s the other point. Following the law or trying to does not get you into the kingdom of heaven. Your righteousness must exceed that, which is what the religious leaders were trying to do. We have no righteousness of our own, it must come from Christ through belief and acceptance of Him. Only after we have been saved or redeemed can we gain anything from keeping the commandments.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.