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Matthew
Chapter 5

Commentary by Tom Brown



 

Matt 5
5:1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
mountainside. Contrast this with Mount Sinai where the Law and its curse were given. Jesus here pronounces blessings.
2 and he began to teach them, saying:  
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed. Means to “be happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions.” Amplified bible.

Things people hope to make them happy: Money, popularity, fame, power, entertainment, indulgence, pleasure, ect. Each beatitude in a direct or indirect way challenges men’s ideas as to what will make them happy. Jesus is in the happiness business. People sometimes view spirituality as something that makes men unhappy.

Poor in spirit—they acknowledge that they need God to fill the spiritual emptiness inside of them. Those who know they need God, will be the ones who inherit the kingdom—salvation.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. mourn. True repentance. It is natural that after knowing your debt to God, that you will feel sorrow over the hurt you caused Him and others by your sins. Worldly sorrow is to be unhappy because you must pay the consequences, not because of the pain you brought others.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. meek. A person who depends on God’s power to promote him. A fruit for a leader. Moses was meek, which meant he did not use force to defend himself, but entrusted his position to God, and God always vindicated him.
 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. hunger and thirst. Nothing is more important than to satisfy your hunger and thirst, so it is with righteousness. Nothing matters but to do right and be right.

you will be filled. Obvious if that is what you want. You will fill yourself with whatever hungers you.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. merciful. Forgive others for what they did; refuse to punish them. To quit being critical, judgmental, and fault finding.

shown mercy. Eventually when you blow it you will have much mercy shown to you. People are willing to forgive so long as you have been kind and forgiving of others.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. pure in heart. You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. Message Bible.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. peacemakers. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. Message Bible.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. persecuted because of righteousness. Many feel persecuted, yet sometimes they deserve mistreatment for their sins. Persecution is good only when we are doing right.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. people insult. This beatitude is so important that Jesus goes into detail about how to handle persecution.

falsely say. Slander can be one of the worse forms of persecution.

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. Rejoice and be glad. Luke's gospel adds "leap for joy". These are the opposite emotions you really feel. You must counter the bad with the good.
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. salt. Refers to proclaiming the word. see Col 4:6. Salt was used mostly as a preservative. If we fail to keep preaching holiness and God’s righteous standards then the world will continue to rot. We can’t just proclaim what they want to hear. Grace yes, greasy grace no.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. light. Refers to doing the word. Preaching with living the Word is the best witness. Can't do one without the other.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. good deeds. Light will help the world see how God’s way is the best and true way. The result is that people will praise your father in heaven.
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. abolish the Law or the Prophets. The term Law is used in three ways in the Bible: 1. As the Scriptures (see Luke 24:27), 2. First five books of the Bible (see Luke 24:44), 3. Mosaic Law, which is the special agreement God made with Israel through Moses. Jesus was referring to "the Law" as Scriptures, not to the Mosaic Law, since he used "the Prophets" along with the term--a common usage as Scriptures.

fulfill them. There is nothing in the teachings of Christ that goes against what was written, however, He shows also the intent of the Law.

18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. everything is accomplished. The scriptures are necessary until Christ, the Word Of God, returns again. When He comes back and brings about the new heavens and new earth then the scriptures will be unnecessary.
19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. least in the kingdom of heaven. Amazingly there are Christian teachers that encourage people to break the moral laws of God on the grounds that we are not under such laws. We are not under the Mosaic Law, with its sacrifices, civic penalties, and religious ceremonies, but we are still to keep the moral laws of God which transcends all cultures and religions.

great in the kingdom of heaven. There are clear orders and rankings among God's people based on their moral lifestyle.

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. surpasses that of the Pharisees. They were satisfied to keep the letter of Law yet break the spirit of the Law. Jesus made it clear that this was unacceptable.
21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. angry with his brother. All murder finds its root in anger of some sorts. A murderer may not hate the one he kills but he hates someone. Anger is the one sin that mars all the Christian fruit. You cannot see love, joy and peace in an angry Christian.

You fool. This was  a term meant to convey the idea that one did not think a certain brother was a true believer. Jesus warns that it is not the suspect brother who is in danger of hell but the one who accuses the brother of not being saved.

23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. leave your gift. Today this would include preaching, giving, and serving. It is so important that one does not judge the spiritual state of a believer that Jesus says not to even offer anything to God until one is reconcile with the believer that has been judged.
25 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. thrown into prison. Most likely a reference to the preceding teaching about "hell fire." This could be simply a practical way to handle lawsuits.
26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.  
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' Do not commit adultery. Adultery is sexual relations with another person's spouse. Fornication is sexual relations with someone who is not your spouse. Married and unmarried persons can commit both sins.
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. adultery with her in his heart. Jesus taught this for two purposes: 1. to remove any judgmental attitudes, for who can claim that they have never had lustful thoughts toward another person's spouse, 2. To show the root of adultery, it begins in the mind. Remove the seed-thought in the mind and it cannot bear adulterous actions. Adultery in the heart is not the same as adultery in the flesh, but they are both wrong and have its own consequences.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. gouge it out. Obviously not to be taken literally. But should be dealt with in a drastic way. There is much opportunity in the world to have lust in the heart--TV, Movies, Internet, scant clothes. Must keep oneself from being polluted by these things, lest one is "thrown into hell."
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. right hand causes you to sin. Could be an allusion to masturbation.
31 "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' a certificate of divorce. It was common practice during the time of Moses that a man had to simply utter the words, "I divorce you" three times and he was divorced. The law of divorce that Moses made was meant to protect the rights of wives. The certificate enabled her to have proof of the divorce and so remarry.
32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. causes her. The sinner here is the husband who has divorced his wife.

become an adulteress. She does not become an adulteress in the eyes of the court but only one "emotionally." A woman may still love her previous husband and thus she feels like an abandoned adulterous. Her new husband still finds that his wife has affection for her old husband, and so he feels like a third party in his marriage. Jesus shows that a legal divorce does not free a wife to find a new husband. She still feels bound to the previous husband. (Click here to read my teaching on divorce and remarriage.)

33 "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' The purpose of oaths were to confirm and clarify a testimony and to end rebuttals of those claiming something different. Generally oaths make people very careful about what they say. In Jesus day, oaths were taken in the "ordinary discourse" of the day rather than how the Old Testament meant it in "serious discourse".
34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
 37 Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. comes from the evil one. There are many examples of oaths and vows taken that brought much harm to people. (see Judges 11:30, Matt 26:74, Matt 27:25, Acts 21:23)

How does the devil entice people to make oaths and how does he bring harm to people? 1. He inspires hatred toward authority by causing people to lie before the authorities; 2. he inspires people to make oaths in order to deceive others;  3. oaths opens the door to the devil for him to bring curses; 4. people often try to force God's hand through oaths; 5. a person can be stuck in an ungodly oath; 6. oaths bind you to your word instead of the Word of God.

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. This scripture is found Exodus 21:23, and it refers to "serious injury", but like so many, they took the passage to exact private revenge instead of allowing the Magistrates to protect them.
39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. strikes. Literally means a slap in the face in order to humiliate not cause physical injury.
40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. sue you and take your tunic. This is a laughable lawsuit, so Christ encourages giving your undershirt which is also laughable. The point is to not make such a big deal over minor injustices. Laugh at it as insignificant.
41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. This assumes insignificant requests. Not necessarily throwing away money to people that will spend it foolishly.
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' Love your neighbor. This is the most important and fundamental commandment related to our relationships with others.

hate your enemy. This injunction was not in the commandments, but was added through tradition. Sometimes your enemy is your neighbor.

44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Better to make friends with your enemies than to alienate them further.
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good. This should be obvious, yet many of God's children treat sinners differently than saints. Next time the sun is shinning, look over your fence to your neighbor's yard and see if the sun is shinning there.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? tax collectors. A hated group.
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Be perfect. Not an injunction to "perfectionism" which is often manifested in being overly critical of other people's imperfection. It is the opposite of a perfectionist--rather it means to be patient toward other people's imperfection. The Father is perfect in the sense that he is good to all.

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