There is no need for an honest man of integrity to swear by anything. A yes or no should be reliable enough. Men without reliability or trustworthiness swear by oaths, as some sort of superstition that takes the Lord’s name in vain, rather than reverence- too easily is the name of God thrown into bargains and politics. Yet, nothing men swear by belongs to them. All is God’s.
The law was not meant to justify revenge or retaliation, for which the people used it. It was meant to say that the punishment must fit the crime. Endure an insult to keep the peace Christ requires. It is better to walk away from a fight than to engage in one and find yourself hurt or carrying the burden sin of assault or murder. Needless killing is abundant in this world, and cycles throughout history, among those who need only need to heed the words of Jesus and walk away. How can we be peacemakers if we retaliate at every insult? Jesus does not take away the right to self-defense, it is vengeance he criticized. Do everything you can to keep peace, and witness peace to others. By law, a man was allowed to keep his cloak- this was a provision for the poor, who used the cloak as a blanket by night. But Jesus says to give that also, and that if you are forced to walk one mile, walk two. These are not measures of weakness, nor do they come at the cost of self-respect. They are statements of strength, and faith. It is a greater strength- it is overcoming evil by doing good. It is better to lose our money or property than our souls by engaging in evil. Do not repay evil with evil.
Give to one who asks of you, regardless of who it is. We received mercy from God. Are not the poor and needy asking for mercy when they ask for food or clothes? Give and lend with wisdom, not foolishly, or in a way that enables poor behavior or actions against the teachings of Jesus. But do not hold back, that which is good, and you have freely to give.
Love your enemy. Only love can turn your enemy to a friend. It was previously taught only to to love your neighbor. How easy it is to love our friends! What spiritual reward is their in loving our friends, as even those who are corrupt can do that. Jesus asked for a much higher love- the same love that God gives to us as his children. The sun rises on the evil and the good, the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous- there is no distinction, God loves everyone. We have all sinned, we are all in need of grace. As God is perfect, we must be perfect. We cannot help but recognize the impossibility! We are sinners, imperfect by nature. Yet Christ called us to be perfect, not so we would be distressed, but so we may lean on him, to attain our perfection. Through Jesus we are made holy.
Men would divorce their wives hastily for any reason. Divorce breaks down the family institution which God ordained. Jesus identifies adultery as the only reason to severely limit the justification of divorce. Such a declaration would certainly get the people thinking about the commitment of marriage. Marriage is serious business to God.
This teaching has been used to justify staying in an abusive or dangerous marriage. Jesus in no way advocates for a man or woman to remain in a mentally or physically abusive relationship. His criticism of divorce here is aimed at those who take marriage lightly without regard for God’s purpose of it. God does not condone abuse. If you have a question regarding this issue, please feel free to contact us.
Jesus went up on elevated land, probably more of a hill than a mountain, because he sought a greater place from which to address the crowds. It was custom to teach while sitting. Jesus began to speak what would become known as the Sermon on the Mount.
The beatitudes offer directives for the Christian life. They do not distinguish between those who mourn and those who are peacemakers. Christians must mourn and be repentant for sin as well be peacemakers. One of the beatitudes may strike at the heart of one Christian because it relates to the gift he was given by God. For instance, one who was given the ability to make peace among others can find joy in the promise that he will be called a son of God. Also, the beatitudes show a contrast between the way of the world and the way of God. A Christian may find that his or her gentleness, while ignored and mocked by the world, is found pleasing and exalted with God.
Blessed means much more than “happy” or “fortunate”. To be blessed is to recieve divine favor as God’s children. God blesses us because he loves us, so to be blessed is also to be loved. God’s children are precious and sanctified unto Him. The Beatitudes can be read and understood within this context. Those who mourn shall recieve divine favor in God’s comfort. Loved by God are His children who mourn, and they will be comforted. Precious to God are the gentle, and they shall inherit the earth. Sanctified are those who seek righteouness, for they will find it in God. Sanctified are the merciful, because God will give them mercy.
To be poor in spirit is to be humble and admit we are sinners. Our acknowledgment of our need for God’s grace through Jesus allows us to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Those who mourn over sin can can find comfort now in God’s grace through his son Jesus, and have eternal life. Those who mourn over loss can find emotional comfort in God, their Father.
To be meek is to have a gentle, quiet spirit, a product of the humility by which we recieve Jesus. The meek do not think themselves better than others, are not provoked to anger easily, and endure their trials with patience. It is not a weakness, it is not a surrender of principles or rights, or a cowering away, but it is a strength in God. The Earth belongs to God, and from it he gives to his children. After the final days God will create a new Earth, which his children will inherit.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to crave God in a world of sin and chaos. It is a desparate cry for salavation from evil. Many walk the world trying to fill an emptiness that can only be filled by God, but those that seek Him, shall be filled, for only God is truly righteous.
John was cast into prison for his boldness to Herod, which the author describes later (Matthew 14). Jesus withdrew to Galilee after hearing of John’s imprisonment, so he may have wanted to avoid authorities. Galilee was populous and industrious area, and predominantly Gentile. Jesus did not choose a fully Jewish culture with which to begin his ministry. He left his home small village of Nazareth because it rejected him (Luke 4:14-30). This move by Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah. Capernaum was a coastal city in Galilee, known for its fishing industry.
Jesus began preaching repentance and the near kingdom of God. We must understand repentance to be a necessity for access to the kingdom. Whereas John the Baptist preached this message also, Jesus fulfilled it.
Jesus chose disciples to teach so they could witness of him and carry on his work. He did not chose the wealthy or the educated. He chose common men, laborers. He called two sets of brothers to gather souls for God. The call of Jesus may not be convenient for us. We may have to put down our nets, and even leave our loved ones behind.
The ministry of Jesus demonstrated authority. Jesus taught with authority. He cast out demons with authority. He healed with authority. The people had never witnessed anything like him, and for this reason word spread quickly and about him, and crowds flocked to him.
The Gospel of Matthew narrates the birth of Jesus from the viewpoint of Joseph. Joseph is betrothed to Mary, and Mary is found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. The pregnancy of Mary created a testing moment for Joseph. Upon finding her pregnant, Joseph was concerned with the integrity of his future marriage, but he was also concerned for the well being and reputation of Mary, whom he loved. He considered divorcing her privately, but an unnamed angel God appeared to him in a dream and assured him in the marriage. The angel also called Joseph “son of David”. Joseph was a descendant of the King of Israel. He now lived among an oppressed people. God let him know that his lineage and the people of God were not forgotten. God wanted Joseph to raise this child. The angel also stated the child would save the people from their sins and be named “Jesus”, which Matthew suggested to be a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Immanuel, meaning “God with us”, is a reference to the deity of Jesus. Joseph was obedient, and took Mary as his wife. Joseph did not consummate the marriage until after the birth of Jesus, verifying Joseph was not the father. As commanded, the child was named Jesus.
What does Jesus Mean? The Hebrew form of Jesus is Yeshua. Yeshua is a derivative of the Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua in English), meaning The Lord is Salvation. The angel told Joseph to call the child The Lord is salvation, because he will save people from their sins.
Matthew’s Gospel was written to a Jewish audience with the purpose of presenting Jesus as the Messiah prophesied by the Old Testament. It was likely composed sometime between 60 and 70 AD, although some date it even earlier, and believe it to be the first gospel written. Although it has similarities to the other gospels, it is a unique portrait of Jesus and his ministry. Matthew is the only gospel to record the the Sermon on the Mount. The apostle Matthew was identified as the author by early church, and there is little reason to doubt he penned the gospel. Matthew was a tax collector, a profession despised by his contemporaries, not only because of its corruption, but because of its collaboration with the Romans. Matthew, also known as Levi, answered the call of Jesus to become one of his twelve disciples. We know little else of him from the scriptures. Please join us in reading!
Jesus shows us by his example that time spent alone with God is invaluable. The troubles of world surround us, beating against like waves. At times we feel we are fighting against the wind. Yet Christ overcame the world. Jesus walked on water, just before dawn, as the true light.. The manner in which Jesus approaches us may surprise, even frighten us. It is overwhelming to witness Christ at work. Such was the case of the disciples, but he quickly assures them. Peter wanted to go to Jesus. Lord, if it’s you, if this is your way, Lord tell me to come to you on the water. Tell me to follow you. By your power, let me glorify you, and walk in your way. Jesus will not deny us this request. Peter walked on water toward Jesus. The moment Peter fell, is the moment he took his focus off Christ. We can walk through all of our troubles by the power of Christ, We can be forgiven, by the power of Christ. We can have eternal life, through the power of Christ. If we take our eyes off of Jesus, we find ourselves sinking in anxieties, sinking in guilt and sin, and doubting our salvation. If we cry to Jesus to save us, he will reach out his hand and catch us, and ask us as he did Peter, why we doubted.
The greatest false prophet of all was Satan, who convinced Adam and Eve that disobeying God would not harm them. Christ represents all that is good and holy, therefore those who are evil will try to wear Christianity as a mask. They will come to you as harmless and innocent, but their true intentions ravage your soul. How will we know who these people are? They will contradict Christ. Those who profess any other way but Christ are false. Mohammad, the founder of Islam, taught that Christ never died, that He never suffered on the cross, and that He never rose from the dead. These were lies! And, they produced evil hearts in men, some who persecute and kill Christians to this day. However, worse than that, his teachings have condemned the souls of those who accept them! In today’s world there are many lies about Jesus, and these too bear bad fruit– hatred toward those who hold true to God’s Word. False prophets tell people what they want to hear, not what Christ wants them to know. That which produces bad fruit will face the judgment of God. Here are some other lies false prophets tell:
It was not the season for figs, but there is no definite time in which Jesus is coming. Only the Father knows when Christ will return. What have you done for the kingdom of Christ? Do you know Jesus as your savior? Has Christ asked for something from you? To deny Jesus is to deny life. Cursed are those who deny Jesus.
The story is related to Jesus about a group of Galileans who were put to death by Pilate, seemingly at a festival or in the temple, where “their blood was mingled with sacrifices.” We do not know the cause behind the murder, and it is not important. By the answer Jesus gives, we can deduce that those telling the story were asking if it were a divine judgment, that caused this fate to come down on the Galileans. The response of Jesus is a rebuke for those judging others. Jesus, the final judge of all, casts no judgment, but tells the others to look at themselves, for their souls are in peril. Their sins are no less than those who were killed. We have no idea when our time is over: A tower collapses, a car accident, a shooting in a movie theater, a heart attack– the wages of sin is death. This is the curse upon us. Should we waste our time judging others, or repent or sins and accept Jesus Christ?
This parable was told as in effort to comfort the disciples. Jesus knows when our hearts our troubled. A heavily troubled heart can lead to doubt, and doubt can lead to sin. This judge was apathetic; he did not know Christ. He yielded to the persistance of a helpless widow, not out of mercy but because of her persistance. God doesn’t see His children as a bother, and his mercy and compassion are great! Without Jesus, we are like the widow to an uncaring judge, but with Jesus, we are the children of an almighty God, and our God is just! God is the great redeemer of our our souls, tormented by sin. God granted us mercy and redemption thorugh Jesus. We should not seek vengeance upon those who persecute us for the sake of Jesus. Jesus says we must bless those who curse us, love and pray for our enemies. We can pray for protection from our adversary the devil. Vengeance is the Lord’s, and there will be a time when God will execute his vengeance upon the devil, and all the enemies of Christ. Believe that God will handle such things, and be constant in prayer. Prayer draws us close to God, and if we are close to God, the devil flees. The humble will be exalted, God will not ignore His children. Therefore Jesus asks: Do you believe that He is returning, even the midst of all the pain and suffering in this world? Do you believe in Him? Let Christ return and find us faithful.
It is futile to pray in the name of Jesus if we do not believe in him. Jesus is the Son of God. God gave him all authority. He is one with his Father, and he is the only way to Him. Jesus became the mediator between us and God by suffering for our sins. To pray in the name of of Jesus means to pray as his follower, not just to say the words. The favor of God is bestowed upon those who belong to Him, who have accepted his gift of salvation. There is nothing that is good for us that Jesus will deny us. In today’s world, there is an attempt by modern culture and society to silence praying in the name of Jesus. People will accept a generic ‘god’ but not Jesus. God wants you to know who He is. He wants you to know who you are praying to, and what he has done for you. God wants you to know He loves you, and we pray by the example of His love for us, who is our Lord Jesus. Nothing else will suffice.