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Matthew: Demands for a Higher Righteousness
Transcript of Matthew: Demands for a Higher Righteousness
Who wrote this book?
The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous. The tradition that this was the disciple Matthew begins with the early Christian bishop Papias of Hierapolis, who wrote: "Matthew wrote down the sayings of Jesus (logia) in Hebrew dialect (en Hebraïdi dialektōi—may refer to Hebrew or Aramaic), and everyone translated (hērmēneusen—or "interpreted") them to the best of their ability."
To whom did Matthew address this scripture?
Jesus' teaching in the Great Sermon, as elsewhere, is addressed to man as man. "Your love must be all-inclusive," he says, in effect, "as your Heavenly Father's love is all-inclusive!" The same may be said of the Golden Rule. The universality of the Great Sermon, along with its inwardness and insight into essential morality, account for its acclaim as the greatest body of ethical teaching in all the world's literature.
Purpose of Writing
This chapter was commonly known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” Israel had a big problem. The law was being worshiped instead of inspiring worshipful living. It also shows Jesus as Israel’s God-authorized teacher. The setting of the sermon resembles that of Moses on Mt. Sinai. In his sermon and teachings, a clear warning was issued--that those who believe in Jesus must do what he says.
-Kinship to God
Jesus is not teaching an abstract idea of the universal fatherhood of God, but a living and personal relationship which can only be lived in a spirit of "obedient trust."
The Great Sermon in outline:
I. Characteristics of members of the Kingdom (5:3-16)
A.Their Virtues and Rewards (5:3-12)
B.Their Task and Influence (5:13-16)
II. The new righteousness fulfills the old law (5:17-6:18)
A.Surpasses the righteousness of the Pharisees (5:17-20)
B.Viewed in relation to the current teachings (5:21-48)
1. Murder 4.Trustfulness
2. Adultery 5. Revenge
3. Divorce 6. Neighbor-love
C. Viewed in relation to the current piety (6:1-18)
1. Almsgiving (6:2-4)
2. Prayer (6:5-15)
3. Fasting (6:16-18)
III. The new righteousness means single-hearted loyalty to God (6:19-34)
A. With regard to one's possessions (6:19-24)
B. With regard to one's livelihood (6:25-34)
C. In relation to all other persons (7:1-23)
1. Judge not, yet discriminate (7:1-6)
2. The Golden Rule (7:12)
D. With reference to prayer (7:7-11)
E. With reference to the sincerity of faith (7:13-25)
1.Two ways of life (7:13-14)
2.Two types of teachers (7:15-20)
3.Two kinds of disciples (7:21-23)
IV. Concluding challenge: Professing vs. practicing faith (7:24-27)
- In brief outline, this is Jesus' "design for life in the Kingdom of God."
UNITS OF THOUGHT
Promises of blessing and solemn warnings
-The Great Sermon begins with a series of paradoxes in form of "beatitudes," or promises of blessing.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
A comparison of the Luke beatitudes (6:20-26) with those that Matthew reveals that Luke has only half the number and the four are counter-balanced with four warnings.
20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
The moral antithesis
-A comparison between Jesus' interpretation of God's will and that of the Pharisees.
-New Order is a way of life in which not only evil acts but even the hidden thoughts which inspire them have no place.
-Inspired re-interpretations of the of the moral laws from the Ten Commandments
The Old Order
1. The Law said, "No murder."
2.The Law said, "No adultery."
3.The Law said, "Divorce on condition."
4.The Law said, "No false swearing."
5.The Law said, "Eye for eye."
6.The Law said, "Love your friends."
The New Order
1. I say, "No anger."
2.I say, "No lustful thoughts."
3.I say, "No divorce."
4.I say, "No swearing at all."
5.I say, "No retaliation at all."
6.I say, "Love your enemies."
The nature of worship
-We should perform religious duties to please God, not the people.
-When a Christian disciple prays, he does so intelligently and in trust, relying upon God who knows his needs even before he asks, and who can't be curried into doing special favors.
In this spirit, Jesus taught his disciples a prayer which later came to be called "The Lord's Prayer." Although omitted from the Luke Sermon, it is included in his Gospel in a different context and slightly different wording.
-Matthew's version represents a theme from the Great Sermon in every phrase of his prayer
-"Your Kingdom come, your will be done..." expresses the central motif of the entire sermon.
The word "beatitude" comes from the Latin beatitudo, meaning "blessedness."
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
Conclusion to the Great Sermon (MT 7:13-27)
Deliberately planned to present the reader a repeated challenge to decision.
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
INTERPRETING THE GREAT SERMON
-The Great Sermon must be seen in the light of a divine promise of salvation
-The purpose of Jesus is not merely to show men how to live , but also to provide the resources to live that way
Four ways by which the commands of Jesus are relevant to our situation:
1. They Provide us with an absolute standard against which to judge our motives
2.They furnish us with a standard by which to decide what we ought to do.
3.They stand as a judgment over everything we have done.
4. They help us to see how desperately in need o salvation we really are.