The synoptic problem is intrinsic to all study of the Gospels, especially the first three. The word synoptic comes from two Greek words, syn and opsesthai, meaning, “to see together.” Essentially the synoptic problem involves all the difficulties that arise because of the similarities and differences between the Gospel accounts. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have received the title “Synoptic Gospels” because they present the life and ministry of Jesus Christ similarly. The content and purpose of John’s Gospel are sufficiently distinct to put it in a class by itself. It is not one of the so-called Synoptic Gospels.
III.Charles C. Ryrie. B.A.,,Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.. Litt. D., (1925-2016).
9:1. “your sins are forgiven.”This may indicate that the man’s sickness was the direct result of sin. Some Jews speculated that such was always the case, but see Phil 2:30 and John 9:2
9:5. It is obviously easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” since the validity of the statement can not be tested so easily as saying, “Get up.” By making the statement, Christ was asserting a prerogative of God, who alone can forgive sins.
9:14. “Sinners” were those whose daily occupations rendered them ceremonially unclean and not, In pharaisac eyes, to be associated with.
9:16-17. The old and the new can not be combined. (See Lk 5:37).
IV. John F. Walvoord. A.B., M.A. Th. B., Th.M., Th. D., D.D., Litt. D. (1910-2002).
John F. Walvoord, https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/john-f-walvoord/203232/ (1910-2012) long-time president of Dallas Theological Seminary, was one of the most prominent evangelical scholars of his generation. He is considered perhaps the world’s foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy.
The Authority Of The King To Forgive Sin
Healing of the Paralyzed Man, and His forgiveness
After being rejected by the people of Gadara, Jesus returned by boat to the other side of the lake to Capernaum. There, a man, paralyzed and lying on a bed, or couch, was brought to Him (cf. Mk 2:3-12; Lk 5:18-26). Recognizing the faith of his friends who had brought him, Jesus first said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mt 9:2). This was done deliberately by Jesus, knowing the unbelief of the scribes who were watching and who, in their hearts, thought that He committed blasphemy.
Replying to the unspoken objection, Jesus posed the question as to whether it was easier to say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” or to say, “Arise and walk.” Obviously, merely to say either was easy. In the case of forgiveness of sins, there would be no way to demonstrate whether it had been accomplished, but to say, “Arise and walk,” would have the testimony of immediate healing. To demonstrate His power to do both, however, Jesus then said to the man, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house” (9:6). Before them all, the man arose from his sick bed, taking up the portable couch on which he was lying, and departed as the multitude marveled. This miracle closes the second group of three, demonstrating Christ’s control over nature, the demon world, and His power both to heal disease and to forgive sin.
Call of Matthew, 9:9-17
Before introducing the third group of miracles, Matthew records briefly his own call to the ministry (cf. Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27-29). In the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke, he is called Levi; but here, he refers to himself as Matthew. As an official in the tax office, he left his lucrative position in order to follow Christ. This tax office, located at Capernaum, probably had the responsibility of collecting taxes from those who were on the caravan route from Damascus to the East, which passed through Capernaum. As a tax collector, he probably knew Greek well, which qualified him for writing this gospel in the Greek language.
The incident which followed, according to Luke 5:29, was a feast, which Matthew held in his own house for Jesus. It possibly was Matthew’s way of introducing Jesus to his fellow tax collectors. To eat with publicans or tax collectors, however, was frowned upon by the Pharisees, who considered tax collectors as the enemies of their people and as those who were compromising morally. As W. H. Griffith Thomas notes, “A tax-gatherer was one who elicited intense animosity on the part of the Jews who strongly opposed this work of Roman domination.”The Pharisees, complaining to the disciples, drew from Jesus the reply, “They that [are] whole need not a physician, but they that are sick” (Mt 9:12). He then decited to them Hosea 6:6, which brings out that God prefers mercy to sacrifice, a point mentioned only by Matthew. In the process, Jesus declared, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mt 9:13).
Objections were also raised by the disciples of John, who, perceiving Jesus attending a feast such as this, wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast like the Pharisees. To them, Jesus replied that it is unfitting to mourn during a wedding feast, implying that this was not the time in Christ’s ministry to mourn. He prophesied, however, that the time would come when the Bridegroom would be taken away and they then could fast. In this, He anticipated His own death and ascension into heaven.
This attempt to apply the standards of the Pharisees to the new dispensation, which Jesus was introducing, was, in His words, like adding new cloth to an old garment or putting new wine into old wineskins. The Pharisees’ religion, including its fasting, was quite inadequate for what lay ahead, whether it be the dispensation of the church or the dispensation of the kingdom. As Ironside expresses it, “He had not come to add something to the legal dispensation but to supersede it with that which was entirely new… The new wine of grace was not to be poured into the skin-bottles of legality.”
V. Parting Thought.
Consider the following words from the third paragraph above. The conversation clearly is between Jesus and Jews. Gentiles would have had no knowledge of the prophecy of Hosea.
“He then decited to them Hosea 6:6, which brings out that God prefers mercy to sacrifice, a point mentioned only by Matthew. In the process, Jesus declared, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mt 9:13).”
VI. My Bucket List shows the references that I consult, of theologians and printed resources, whenever I write an article that will be posted. Please find the Pages of my site to find Bucket List.
8:1. Intro. This verse is transitional (cf. Matthew 5:1). Great crowds continued to follow Jesus after He delivered the Sermon on the Mount, as they had before.
8:1 The Manifestation Of The King 8:1-11:1.
“Matthew has laid the foundational structure for his argument in chapters one through seven. The genealogy and birth have attested to the legal qualifications of the Messiah as they are stated in the Old Testament. Not only so, but in His birth great and fundamental prophecies have been fulfilled. The King, according to protocol, has a forerunner preceding Him in His appearance on the scene of Israel’s history. The moral qualities of Jesus have been authenticated by His baptism and temptation. The King Himself then commences His ministry of proclaiming the nearness of the kingdom and authenticates it with great miracles. To instruct His disciples as to the true character of righteousness which is to distinguish Him, He draws them apart on the mountain. After Matthew has recorded the Sermon on the Mount, he goes on to relate the King’s presentation to Israel (Mat_8:1 to Mat_11:1).” [Note: Toussaint, Behold the . . ., p. 121.]
8:1-34. Demonstrations of the King’s Power.
Matthew described Jesus’ ministry as consisting of teaching, preaching, and healing in Matthew 4:23. Chapters 5-7 record what He taught His disciples: principles of the kingdom. We have the essence of His preaching ministry in Matthew 4:17. Now in Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:34 we see His healing ministry. He demonstrated authority over human beings, unseen spiritual powers, and the world of nature. Matthew showed that Jesus’ ability proves that He is the divine Messiah. He possessed the “power to banish from the earth the consequences of sin and to control the elements of nature”. [Note: The New Scofield . . ., p. 1003.] The King authenticated His claims by performing messianic signs. In view of this the Jews should have acknowledged Him as their Messiah.
“The purpose of Matthew in these two chapters [8 and 9] is to offer the credentials of the Messiah as predicted in the Old Testament.” [Note: Walvoord, Matthew: . . ., p. 63.]
Matthew did not record Jesus’ miracles in strict chronological order. The harmonies of the Gospels make this clear. [Note: See, for example, A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ; or, for the Greek text, E. Burton and E. J. Goodspeed, A Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels in Greek.] His order is more thematic. He also selected miracles that highlight the gracious character of Jesus’ signs. As Moses’ plagues authenticated his ministry to the Israelites of his day, so Jesus’ miracles should have convinced the Israelites of His day that He was the Messiah. Moses’ plagues were primarily destructive whereas Jesus’ miracles were primarily constructive. Jesus’ miracles were more like Elisha’s than Moses’ in this respect.
Matthew recorded 10 instances of Jesus healing in this section of his book (cf. the 10 plagues in Egypt), half of all the miracles that Matthew recorded. Some regard Matthew 8:16-17 as a miracle distinct from the previous healings in chapter 8, resulting in 10 miracles. Others regard Matthew 8:16-17 as a summary of the preceding miracles, resulting in 9 miracles. Both explanations have merit since Matthew 8:16-17 records other miracles, but it does not narrate one specific miraculous healing.
Matthew presented these miracles in three groups and broke the three groups up with two discussions (narrative sections) concerning His authority. The first group of miracles involves healings (Matthew 8:1-17), the second, demonstrations of power (Matthew 8:23 to Matthew 9:8), and the third, acts of restoration (Matthew 9:18-34). Together the section presents “a slice of life” out of Jesus’ overall ministry. [Note: D. J. Weaver, Matthew’s Missionary Discourse, p. 67.]
B. Charles C. Ryrie. B.A.,,Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.. Litt. D., (1925-2016).
8:4. “The offering that Moses commanded.” Imagine the stunning impact on the priest, since no record exists of any Israelite being cured of leprosy except Mirian (Num 12:10-15). [Re: Lev 14:1-21; The elaborate ritual of cleansing for a leper involved two birds, one killed as a symbol of purification and the other released as a symbol of the man’s newfound freedom (vs 4-7), shaving and washing (vs 8-9), and the offering of guilt, sin, burnt, and grain offerings (vs 12, 13, 21).]
8:11. Gentiles will be included in the blessings of the millennial reign of Christ on this earth.
8:17. “Healing illnesses.” (which are a result of sin) was a preview of His complete dealing with sin on the cross (Isa 53:4).
8:20. “Son of Man.” The title “Son of God” is the divine Name of Jesus (v 29), “Son of David” His Jewish Name (9:27), but “Son of Man” is the name that links Him to the earth and to His mission. It was His favorite designation of Himself (used more than 80 times) and was based on Dan 7:13-14. It emphasizes (1) His lowliness and humanity (v 20), (2) His suffering and death (Lk 19:10), and (3) His future reign as King (24-27).
8:22. Following the Lord required full commitment; therefore, let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead.
8:28. “Gaderenes.” Lived on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
8:31 The request of the demons to go into the pigs was probably to avoid being sent to the abyss. which is their ultimate doom.
C. John F. Walvoord. A.B., M.A. Th. B., Th.M., Th. D., D.D., Litt. D. (1910-2002).
The Authority of the King over Disease and Nature.
Following the pronouncement of the principles of the kingdom in chapters 5-7, chapters 8-9 present the supporting mighty works of Jesus as credentials of the Messiah King.
Three groups of miracles may be observed. In Matthew 8:1-17, the healing of the leper (vv. 1-4), the healing of the servant (vv. 5-13), and the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother (vv. 14-15), are followed by an evening of many miraculous healings (vv. 16-17).
A second group of miracles is found in 8:23-9:8 with the stilling of the storm (vv. 23-27), the casting out of demons (vv. 28-34), and the healing of the paralytic and the forgiveness of his sins (9:1-8).
The third group of miracles is found in 9:18-38 with the healing of the ruler’s daughter (vv. 18-19, 23-26), the healing of the woman with the issue of blood (vv. 20-22), the healing of two blind men (vv. 27-31), the healing of the demoniac (vv. 32-34), followed by a general statement of many instances of healing (v. 35).
In between these accounts of miracles, which are not necessarily in chronological order, are other instances of significant events which took place in Christ’s ministry. The purpose of Matthew in these two chapters is to offer the credentials of the Messiah as predicted in the Old Testament. The order of the presentation deals with Christ’s power over disease in the first group; His power over nature, demons, and authority to forgive sins in the second group; with His power over death and other miscellaneous human needs in the third group. In 8:17, the whole picture is related to Isaiah’s prophecy of a suffering Messiah who would bear the sickness and the sins of Israel.
Leper Healed, 8:1-4
Coming down from the mountain with great multitudes following Him, Jesus was confronted suddenly by a leper (cf. Mk 1:40-45; Lk 5:12-14). The crowd undoubtedly surrounded the leper at a safe distance, afraid of his terrible disease. The leper addressed Jesus, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Mt 8:2). This is the first instance in Matthew where Christ is addressed as Lord (Gr. kyrios). The word means “master,” but as used of Jesus, it is a recognition of His authority and deity. The leper had confidence in the power of Jesus; he was not sure whether Jesus was willing to heal.
Jesus first touched the leper, which amazed the crowd, for lepers were not touched (cf. Lev 13). With this loving gesture, Jesus said, “I will,” and immediately the leper was healed. The leper was instructed not to tell anyone but to go to the priest, fulfilling the procedure of Leviticus 14 in regard to the cleansing of a leper. Commentators like Wrede and R. H. Lightfoot have strained at the command not to tell others and questioned the purpose of going to the priest. The command not to tell others was probably to avoid gathering ever greater crowds, which by their size were getting out of hand, as Tasker has observed. The command to tell the priest was first of all an act of obedience to the law, but Jesus probably wanted to have a genuine case of healing certified in a formal way. Telling the priests would not increase the problem of the large crowds and did not contradict Christ’s instructions to “tell no man.” The effect on the priests must have been electrifying, as they had never before in their memory had a leper healed. Significantly, in Acts, many of the priests are recorded to have believed in Jesus.
Centurion’s Servant Healed, 8:5-13
As Jesus was entering into Capernaum, a centurion, a Roman soldier, besought Him to heal a servant, sick with palsy and in great suffering (cf. Lk 7:1-10). The servant is called in Greek, a pais, meaning a child, but the word is sometimes used of adult servants. Jesus immediately responded to the centurion with a promise that He would come and heal him. In reply, the centurion declared himself unworthy for Jesus to come into his house, and besought Him to speak the word only, saying that he too was a man in authority who could command and have instant obedience. Jesus marveled at his faith, greater than any He had found in Israel, and commented that in the future kingdom, the children of the kingdom would be cast out and others, that is, Gentiles, would be admitted instead. Jesus then brought the encounter to a close, saying to the centurion, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Mt 8:13).
Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law, 8:14-15
In Capernaum, Jesus went to Peter’s house, which was located there, and finding his wife’s mother sick of fever, He healed her. Then she rose and ministered to them (cf. Mk 1:29-31; Lk 4:38-39). The best texts indicate that she ministered to Him (singular) rather than to “them,” although she probably ministered to the others also. In healing first the leper—an outcast—then a Gentile centurion, and finally a woman, Jesus was dealing with those either excluded or unimportant in Jewish thinking. As Morgan expresses it, “He began with the unfit persons for whom there was no provision in the economy of the nation. Jesus was uncontaminated by contact with leprosy and disease, and He was not bound by Jewish narrowness from those whom the world despised.
Evening of Healing, 8:16-17
Matthew brings to a close this group of miracles by stating that that evening, many afflicted with demons and all others who were sick were healed, in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4-5 (cf. Mk 1:32-34; Lk 4:40-41). Matthew, having made his point that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of these miraculous works, is content to summarize many incidents in one short statement.
Price of Discipleship, 8:18-22
Two instances of would-be followers of Jesus are mentioned, typical of the multitude, attracted by the miracles, who wanted to be disciples (cf. Lk 9:57-62). The first to be introduced is a scribe who promised to follow Jesus wherever He went. Jesus replied by pointing out that while foxes have dens and birds have nests, the Son of man did not have a home. Following Jesus would be difficult. Another person is described in Matthew 8:21-22 as desiring to follow Jesus but wanting first to bury his father. Evidently, he meant that he wanted to live with his father until he died. Jesus replied by showing the priority of His claims.
Jesus Stills the Storm, 8:23-27
Beginning a second group of miracles, the account is given of the stilling of the storm on Galilee, also given in Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25. While Jesus and the disciples were in the boat on Galilee, a sudden storm overtook them and was filling the boat with water, while Jesus Himself was asleep. The disciples awoke Him with the urgent petition, literally translated, “Lord, save, we are perishing.” Jesus, thus awakened, first rebuked them for being fearful and of little faith; then, He rebuked the winds and the sea, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples, accustomed to miracles, were amazed at the suddenness of the change and the evidence of the power of Christ, and, speaking in awe, said, “Even the winds and the sea obey him.”
Healing of Two Demoniacs, 8:28-34
After the instance of stilling the storm on Galilee, as they arrived on the other side of the lake, they were met by two men who were demon possessed and lived in a graveyard, which, because of their presence, was considered so dangerous that others avoided passing that way (cf. Mk 5:1-21; Lk 8:26-40). The demons, speaking through the men, recognized Jesus as the Son of God, and expressed the fear that He had come to torment them before their time. The King James translation “devils” is better rendered “demons” and refers to fallen angels who are Satan’s agents. Their ultimate judgment is assured and is apparently simultaneous with Satan being cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10).
As an alternative to being cast out completely, the demons requested permission to enter the herd of swine feeding nearby. Jesus gave the simple, abrupt command, “Go.” The demons, entering the herd of swine, caused them to run violently down a steep cliff into the sea, where they perished. The demons’ foolish request demonstrated their limited knowledge, as they were just as much cast out after the swine perished as if they had been cast out of the demoniac without entering any other being.
The report of the keepers of the swine brought out the whole city of Gadara, about six miles from Galilee, a preferred reading to Gergesenes, a town some thirty miles south and east of Galilee. When the people of the town saw Jesus, they urged Him to leave their country. Keeping swine was, of course, forbidden to Israel, and their destruction was a justifiable judgment from God, which should have shown the people their spiritual need. Their choice of swine, rather than Christ, dramatically illustrated their blindness. They preferred pigs and money to Christ and spiritual riches. As the next chapter reveals (Mt 9:1), Jesus obliged them and left. The creature is able to reject the Creator in time, but will render account in eternity for his lost opportunity.
While Matthew does not record it, in the parallel account in Mark 5:1-20, the man delivered from demons is instructed to go to his home and testify to his friends, the only instance where Jesus told one healed to testify to his own people (cf. vv. 19-20).
III. Parting Thoughts. As, in the preceding chapters of Matthew, it is important to know that the context is of Jesus speaking with Jews, with the purpose of Jesus to let Jews know that He is God’s chosen King for the upcoming Davidic Kingdom of Israel (Deu 17:14-15, 2 Sam 7:8-17).
8:4. “go show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” The account of this verse would have no understanding by Gentiles., only to Jews.
8:27. “even the winds and sea obey Him.” From vs 18-27, the context is that of Jesus having control over all of God’s creation, even all nature. The disciples will be going out into the world to tell of Jesus. They will have been first hand eye witnesses of the miracles that Jesus performed. In verse 27, the context is of Jesus having power over nature. The context is “not” that of a person’s life that may have good times, bad times, and in between times. When the disciples go into “all nations” (Matt 28:19) they will encounter many people who are pagan or atheist; the disciples will need every bit of the teachings of Jesus to make known to them the love, strength and saving power of Jesus.
IV. My Bucket List shows the references that I consult, of theologians and printed resources, whenever I write an article that will be posted. Please find the Pages of my site to find Bucket List.
II. Introduction. Scofield Reference Notes. – Devils – Matthew 7:22
Devils, lit demons. To the reality and personality of demons the N.T. scriptures bear abundant testimony. As to their origin nothing is clearly revealed, but they are not to be confounded with the angels mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6.
7:1-5. “Do not judge.” This does not mean that one is never, in any sense or to any extent, to judge another, for verse 5 indicates that when one’s own life is pure he should “take the speck out” of the brother’s eye. It does mean, however, that a follower of Christ is not not to be contentious.
7:6. The disciples were expected to make moral distinctions and not allow those who reject the invitation of Christ to treat precious things as cheap. “dogs….swine.” Both animals were despised, and represent unholy people.
7:12. The well-known golden rule. It was also taught by the great Jewish rabbis; such as Rabbi Hillel.
7:11-29. In these verses, notice the two ways (vv 13-14), two trees (vv -15-20), two professions (vv 21-23). and two builders (vv 24-29). The “two ways” was a common teaching method in Judaism and Greco-Roman philosophy,
7:21. Obedience to the will of God comes first.
7:29. The scribes had to rely on tradition for authority; Christ’s authority was His own. It disturbed the Pharisees that He had not “credentials” as any official teacher in their system.
IV. Summary. Walvoord Notes. Doing the Will of the Father.
Judging Others, 7,1-6
The final chapter recording the Sermon on the Mount contrasts the true and false way, that is, doing the will of the Father or not doing the will of the Father.
Morgan calls this chapter “a summary of principles of action.” The chapter begins by forbidding hypocritical judgment of others. Those desiring to judge their fellow men are warned that as they judge so they will also be judged. Too often, the one judging, who is able to see a mote or a small speck in his brother’s eye, overlooks the fact that he has a beam, or a splinter in his own eye, which is much larger. Such judgment is hypocrisy, and Jesus declared one should first cast out the beam from his own eye in order to be able to see clearly to help his brother. However, in helping others, care should be exercised to do that which will be really appreciated and helpful. Something holy should not be cast to dogs because they would not appreciate it; and pearls would only be trampled under the feet of swine, and they might turn and injure their benefactor. Help to others should be thoughtful and deliberate.
Encouragement to Pray, 7:7-11
Earlier, Jesus had given them a model prayer. Now assurance was given that God welcomes prayer. They were, accordingly, exhorted to ask, seek, and knock, with the assurance that those who ask, receive; those who seek, find; and those who knock shall find the door open. As Tasker points out, the force of the present imperative in these commands is iterative: the petitioner should be persistent, keep on asking, seeking, knocking. If a son asks bread, would a father give him a stone? Or if he should ask for fish, would he receive a poisonous serpent? In like manner, if men, who naturally are evil, can give good gifts to their children, how much more can God the Father in heaven, who is infinite in His goodness, give good things to them that ask Him? In the kingdom, there is the reassuring fact that God the Father cares for those who are His.
Golden Rule, 7:12
The moral principles outlined in the Sermon of the Mount are summarized Matthew 7:12 in what is often called the golden rule, which has no exact parallel anywhere else in literature. The principle is laid down that what men would ordinarily want others to do to them, so they should do to others, and this rule is the sum of the law and the prophets. As Morgan expresses it, “That is the whole thing.” Morgan goes on to quote Hillel, Socrates, Aristotle, and Confucius as expressing similar sentiments, but concludes, “These are negative and passive; Christ’s comment is positive and active.”
Two Ways, 7:13-14
Entering into the kingdom is likened to going through a narrow gate, in contrast to going through the gate which is wide and broad, leading to destruction. Jesus gave no assurance that the majority will enter the kingdom; He declared that few find the gate leading to life and righteousness. There have been many attempts to soften this hard fact, to deny that few are saved, and to affirm that all will eventually be reconciled to God. There is no justification for ignoring these plain words of Christ.
True and False Teachers, 7:15-20
Jesus warned against false prophets who are like wolves clad in sheep’s clothing, preying upon the flock. Tasker holds that false teachers are part of the cause for the way being narrow and hard to find. False prophets can be known by their fruit. Just as a good tree brings forth good fruit and a bad tree brings forth bad fruit, so it is with prophets. In the orchard, trees that do not bear good fruit are cast into the fire, and disciples of Jesus can expect God, in His time, to deal with those that are false.
True and False Profession, 7:21-23
Not only are there false prophets but there is false profession on the part of some who claim to follow Jesus. Not every one who addresses Him as Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven, even if they have prophesied in the name of Christ and have cast out demons and have performed wonderful works. The ultimate test is whether they are obedient to the Father and characteristically do His will. This principle does not mean that salvation in the kingdom is secured by works, but it does teach that works are the fruit, or evidence, which are found in a true disciple.
True and False Foundations, 7:24-29
The Sermon on the Mount concludes with a parable. Those who hear and respond in obedience to the sayings of Jesus were declared to be like a wise man building his house upon a rock. The storms which beat and the rains which came did not destroy the house because of its solid foundation. The foolish man, however, who built his house upon the sand, in time of storm, discovered that his house would fall, because he had not built upon that which is eternal and true. As Ironside points out, Christ is the rock, the only sure foundation (Is 28:16; 1 Co 3:11; 1 Pe 2:6-8).
This masterful address, comprehensive and authoritative in its pronouncement, astonished the people. As Ironside expresses it, “Never had such words as these been heard in Israel.” The teaching of Christ was in great contrast to the way the scribes taught and clearly showed that this was the truth of God.
The expression “and it came to pass” (Mt 7:28) is a characteristic transitional expression of Matthew (cf. 9:10; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). A similar expression is found much more frequently, however, in Luke and Acts than it is in Matthew, but it serves to introduce a summary of the reactions to what Jesus said and did.
V. Parting Thoughts. Matthew Chapter 7.
It is important to notice that the entire narrative is Jewish, as Jesus was speaking with Jews, and only Jews. Vs 7 shows conditions of the Godly Kingdom Age, which Isaiah prophesied (Isa 2:1-11; 9:6b-7; 11:1-12; 65:20-25). The last days (Isa 2:2), relate to the last days of Israel, which are the Tribulation and Millennium. The last days of the church are discussed in 1 Tim 4:1-3, and are the days prior to the catching up of the church (1 Thes 4:13-18). Gentiles had no knowledge of the Law,or the prophets, which shows that the conversation in Matt 7 was Jewish. Verse 7:21 relates to Jews at the end of the Tribulation, when they will have the opportunity to accept Jesus as God’s chosen king (Deu 17:14-15), or be refused entry into the Kingdom Age, (Matt 23:39, Luke 23:34-35; Zech 12:2-14:1-9; Matt 24:29-3). Vs 31 is not the rapture, but of God regathering the elect (Jews) to Israel. At the end of the Tribulation, unsaved Jews and Gentiles, who are still alive, will be taken in death to the Great White Throne Judgment (Matt 24:40-41; Jews taken in judgment to the Great White Throne Judgment, in death, or left behind for the kingdom) (Matt 25:31-34, 41, 45-46, Gentiles left for the Kingdom, or taken in death to the Great White Throne Judgement, and cast into the Lake of Fire, as will Jews (Rev 20:11-15). By accepting Jesus as God’s chosen king, living Jews show belief in Jesus as Messiah. Jesus told the disciples that they must believe in Him as Savior (John 3:16), in order to have eternal life. The Apostle Paul made the same statement to the Philippian jailer the in Acts 16:31. Jesus told His disciples that eternal life begins at the time of belief (John 17:3), and that once we have come to belief in Christ, we can not be “unsaved,” per John 10:27-30). In the discussion that Jesus had with Nicodemus in John 3:3, Jesus said that unless we are born again, we can not see the Kingdom of God. Once we are born again, we can not be “unborn;” at that time we have the Spirit of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwelling within our spirit; no one can force God’s Spirit from within us (John 12:8-11). By having God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within our spirit, we are constantly taught the things of righteousness (John 15:26; 16:7-11). Nobody but God puts His Spirit within our spirit, therefore, no one, including ourselves, can make God’s Spirit flee from us. In Matthew 7:21, for Jews to do with the will of God is to accept Jesus as God’s chosen king (Deu 17:14-15; Isa 7:14; 9:6b-7; John 14:7-11). Mt 7:21-23 does not relate to those of us who are saved. We don’t beg to get into Heaven; by belief in Christ we are guaranteed such entry. To believe in Jesus is to be born again (John 3:3-8, 16-18).
VI. My Bucket List shows the references that I consult, of theologians and printed resources, whenever I write an article that will be posted. Please find the Pages of my site to find Bucket List.
(3) Since the kingdom of heaven is the earthly sphere of the universal kingdom of God, the two have almost all things in common. For this reason many parables and other teachings are spoken of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, and of the kingdom of God in Mark and Luke. It is the omissions which are significant. The parables of the wheat and tares, and of the net Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43; Matthew 13:47-50 are not spoken of the kingdom of God. In that kingdom there are neither tares nor bad fish. But the parable of the leaven Matthew 13:33 is spoken of the kingdom of God also, for, alas, even the true doctrines of the kingdom are leavened with the errors of which the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians were the representatives. (See Scofield “Matthew 13:33- :“) .
(5) The kingdom of heaven merges into the kingdom of God when Christ, having put all enemies under his feet, “shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father” 1 Corinthians 15:24-28(See Scofield “1 Corinthians 15:24
III. Ryrie Study Bible Notes.
6:1-18. Christ discusses three pharisaic practices of piety; almsgiving, prayer, and fasting.
6:4. “that your giving be in secret.” Jewish tradition said that there was in the temple a “chamber of secrets” into which the devout used to put their gifts in secret so that the poor could receive “therefrom” in secret.
6:9: “Pray…in this way.” The Lord’s prayer is a model for our prayers. It begins with adoration of God ( v 9), acknowledges subjection to His will (v 10), asks petitions of Him (vv 11-13a), and ends with an ascription of praise (v 13b).
6:11. “bread.” All necessary food.
6:12. “debts.” These are obligations incurred; i.e. ,sins of omission and commission. Forgiveness means “cancellation of these debts or obligations.”
6:14.-15. Notice that the only point the Lord emphasizes in the prayer is the necessity for forgiving one another. Forgiveness with the Father depends on forgiveness among the members of the family of God. This is the forgiveness that affects fellowship within the family of God, not the forgiveness that leads to salvation.
6:16-18. “neglect their appearance.” Pharisees wanted everyone to know they were fasting, so they did not wash or trim their hair, and sometimes put ashes on their heads.
6:23. When our spiritual eyes are clouded by greed, there is nothing but darkness.
6:25. “your heavenly Father feeds them.” God feeds the birds not only by miraculous supply of food but through natural processes involving the earth and the birds use of their faculties. Likewise, the child of God, though sometimes the recipient of a miracle, is usually cared for by normal means.
6:27. “add a single hour to his life.” Worry can not add to one’s life span; indeed, it can shorten it.
6:28: “lilies.” Various flowers.
6:34. “trouble.” Let each day’s trouble be enough for that day. This saying is like a proverb.
IV. Walvoord Commentary Comments.
The Life Of Faith In The Kingdom
In contrast to chapter 5, dealing mostly with moral issues, chapter 6 delineates the life of faith. Important in this life of faith are four main elements: (1) performing alms in secret and trusting God for open reward (vv. 1-4); (2) praying in secret and trusting God for open reward (vv. 5-18); (3) laying up treasures in heaven rather than on earth (vv. 19-24); (4) seeking the kingdom of God today and trusting God for His supply tomorrow (vv. 25-34).
Giving Alms (6:1-4)
In the opening four verses, Jesus called attention to the ostentatious almsgiving which often characterized Jewry. In the kingdom, alms should be given secretly, but God would reward openly. The reference in verse 1 to “your Father which is in heaven” (cf. also 6:4) is one of seventeen references to God as Father in the Sermon on the Mount, and as Pettingill notes, this “must surely have sounded strange to Jewish ears,” accustomed to thinking of God “as The Great and Dreadful God.”
Instructions Concerning Prayer (6:5-18).
In like manner, instead of praying publicly in the synagogue and on the corners of the street, as was customary for the Pharisees, they were exhorted to pray in secret, trusting God to answer their prayers openly. Likewise, their prayers were not to be repetitious, as if repetition gained merit, but instead they were to pray simply.
As an illustration, in verse 9, He gave them a sample prayer often called the Lord’s Prayer. It is more properly, however, the disciples’ prayer, that is, a prayer for beginners. As Ironside points out, “Jesus Himself could not pray it, for it includes a request for forgiveness of sins, and He was ever the Sinless One. There is no indication that this prayer ever was repeated from memory in the early church or considered a part of its ritual. The same prayer, found in , has minor variations and additions, including the closing clause in Matt 6:13, which is not found in the more ancient manuscripts. According to Jesus, prayers should be addressed to God as the Father who is in heaven, thereby recognizing the disciples’ relationship to God as His children. Worship of God is the essence of prayer, and the first petition is that God’s name be hallowed or revered. In keeping with the context, the next petition is “Thy kingdom come,” certainly including the future millennial kingdom but broad enough to include the contemporary spiritual kingdom. This is followed by that which would be in keeping with the kingdom, that is, that God’s will should be done in earth as it is in heaven. The first three petitions are all aorist imperatives in the Greek text, pointed commandments to be fulfilled in full.
In verse 11, the petitions are changed to the first person, relating to human need. Included in the prayer was the petition for daily bread, representing all necessary temporal needs. Second, forgiveness is sought, assuming that the petitioner also forgives, although the reverse order is observed in the epistles; that is, we should forgive because we are already forgiven. In the family relationship, the other aspect is also true. The Christian already forgiven judicially should not expect restoration in the family relationship unless he, himself, is forgiving. Verse 12 does not deal with salvation but the relationship of a child to his father. This is followed by the petition not to be led into temptation, that is, into unnecessary enticement into sin, but rather to be delivered both from evil temptation and succumbing to it. The King James Version includes the doxology that to God belonged the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, certainly proper ascriptions, whether included in the original text or not.
In the verses which follow, further exhortation is given concerning the necessity of forgiveness in human relationships if we expect God the Father to forgive us. Again, this must not be interpreted as relating to the issue of personal salvation but rather to proper fellowship between the child and his father.
Contriteness of heart, however, should not be a matter of outward appearance which Jesus attributed to hypocrites, or those who are merely acting sad and who disfigure their outer appearance to indicate that they are fasting. Rather He exhorted them that if they want to fast, they should hide this from men by anointing their head and washing their face and doing their fasting in secret that God may reward them openly. The life of faith depends upon God and not men for recompense. Fasting today is neither commanded nor forbidden, and is beneficial only if practiced under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.Treasures in Heaven, 6:19-24
Important in Jewish thinking was material wealth. In His public ministry, Jesus repeatedly rebuked them for the prominence they gave to material wealth. A true subject of the kingdom, Jesus said, would lay up his treasures in heaven, where they would be impervious to the moth which would eat his beautiful silk fabrics, the rust that would corrupt his jewelry, and would be beyond the grasping fingers of thieves. The principle involved was that their heart would be where their treasure was. If their eyes were in an evil way coveting money and wealth, their whole body would be full of darkness, but if penetrated by the revealing light of eternal values, their whole body would be full of light.
The contrast between the darkness of covetousness and the light of faith and treasure in heaven carries over to the concept of two masters. Necessarily a choice must be made, and they must either regard a master with love and obedience or with hate and disobedience. So, similarly, a choice must be made between God and mammon, or money. As Tasker notes, “Men cannot serve (i.e. ‘be slaves of’) God and mammon (Knox ‘money’) at once, for single ownership and full-time service are of the essence of slavery.”In the kingdom, they must live for God and not for material gain, and in committing their treasures to heaven, they would put their trust in the God of heaven.
Cure For Anxiety (6:25-34).
The place of material gain in life carries over into the problem of anxious care. Because they could trust God for time as well as eternity, they were not to spend their time worrying about their provision of food and drink and raiment for the body. Like the fowl of the air, they were to trust divine provision; and like the lilies of the field, God would care for them. The argument was advanced that if God can care for the grass of the field, existing only for a day and then used for fuel for the oven, how much more will He clothe and care for those who are the objects of His great salvation? Although concern for earthly things characterized the unbelieving Gentile world, Christ reminded them that their Father knows their needs and that they should seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and that God would add the necessary temporal things to them. The chapter concludes, accordingly, on the note that they should not have anxious care about tomorrow but rather concern themselves with serving God today.
VI. Parting thoughts.
As proof that Jesus didn’t bring the Kingdom to earth with his first advent, Matt 6:10 records Jesus instructing his disciples (Jews) to pray for the Kingdom to come to earth. For followers of Christ in this dispensation of Grace (Church), we don’t pray for the Kingdom to come, we pray for unbelievers to come to belief in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31). In this chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is telling the Jews what life will be like in the Kingdom (on earth).
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In Matthew 5:17-48, the details of the moral principles of the kingdom are outlined, and the following subjects are mentioned: the relation of the law of the kingdom to the Mosaic law and the prophets (vv. 17-19); the righteousness of the kingdom as compared to the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (vv. 20-32); laws relating to perjury (vv. 33-37); laws relating to injustice and unfair advantage (vv. 38-42); and laws relating to enemies (vv. 43-48).
In introducing the laws of the kingdom, Jesus paid full respect to the Mosaic law. He declared that He had not come to destroy it or replace it, but to fulfill it. Although the Mosaic law, as a dispensation, was to end at the cross, its moral and spiritual implications were to be fulfilled in later dispensations, including the kingdom. While it is not accurate to say that the kingdom period, when Christ reigns on earth, will be under the Mosaic law, any more than the present age of grace is, it is obvious that the future kingdom is more legal in its government as directed by an absolute Ruler, who rules with a rod of iron (Rev 19:15). Jesus called, however, for a righteousness which would exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. The scribes and Pharisees were attempting to fulfill the letter of the law, but were actually breaking the spirit of the law. They not only fell far short of the Mosaic law but fell even shorter of the law of the kingdom. Just as Jesus was to fulfill the law Himself, so His disciples also would share in the fulfillment of the law of righteousness.
According to Jesus, not one jot, that is, the smallest Hebrew letter, yod, or one tittle, that is, the smallest part of a letter that would change the meaning, would be left unfulfilled. Clearly, Jesus upheld the inerrancy of the Scriptures in their entirety, not simply their moral sense. The kingdom rule which He was presenting had the highest moral standards, and His disciples were expected to obey.
The morality of the kingdom, in many respects, was to exceed that of the Law of Moses. Beginning with Matthew 5:21, He brought up case after case where morality in the kingdom is more precise and exacting than their customary interpretation of the Mosaic law. Whereas Moses said they should not commit murder, in the kingdom it was wrong to be angry with a brother without cause. One who called his brother Raca, or “empty headed” (i.e., a numbskull), would be in danger of the Sanhedrin. Even worse would be to call him a fool, which would place him in danger of eternal punishment, literally, the fire of Gehenna. While this does not necessarily mean that a person who carelessly calls another a fool today is in danger of hell, it involves an attitude of superior wisdom which does not take into consideration the sinful state of everyone who is saved. The order of reference in verse 22 is climactic, but all is contrasted to murder in verse 21.
In keeping with this, if one would bring a gift to the altar of God and would there remember that he had something against a brother, Jesus exhorted him to leave the gift in order to be reconciled to his brother and then to return to offer the gift. The series of exhortations, beginning in verse 20, is addressed to the second person, making it direct exhortation.
Expanding the problem of reconciliation to a brother, in verses 25 and 26, He took up the matter of an honest debt which must be cared for, lest the debtor be hauled into court and imprisoned until the last farthing is paid. The adversary of verse 25 is certainly not the devil, as Morgan suggests, but an ordinary human creditor. The point is that God demands perfect righteousness and what we owe a brother, we owe God.
Proceeding from matters which offend a brother, or debts which are owed a brother, He then took up the matter of adultery and lust and its relationship to divorce. In contrast to the law which forbade adultery, Jesus charged that anyone looking on a woman in lust had already committed adultery. He charged them that if their right eye offend, they should pluck it out, or if their right hand offend, it should be cut off. There is no scriptural support that Jesus meant that lust would be conquered by doing this literally, as there still would be the left eye and the left hand, but rather that the severity of the sin required severe self-judgment. If the choice were to lose a member or to be cast into the eternal damnation of Gehenna, obviously it would be better to be maimed.
With this as a background, He contrasted divorce in the kingdom to divorce in the Mosaic law. In the Old Testament, it was comparatively easy to secure divorce. According to Deuteronomy 24:1, a woman no longer in favor with her husband could be given a bill of divorcement and sent away. If in the meantime, however, she married another, she was under no circumstances to return to her first husband, indicating that the divorce was real and final. In the kingdom, the only justifiable cause is that of fornication, or unfaithfulness. Although the matter of divorce in the teaching of Jesus is subject to various interpretations, the tenor of this passage is to recognize divorce as real and final when there is fornication after the marriage relationship has been established. This was more strict than the Mosaic law but less strict than an absolute prohibition of divorce.
In the kingdom, it was not only true that they should not perjure themselves by failing to perform their oath, which was prohibited in the Mosaic law (Numbers 30:2), but in the kingdom they were not to swear at all, especially in view of man’s limited ability to fulfill his oath. Accordingly, he could say yes or no, but he could not pledge beyond this. This indicates care should be used in giving solemn promises but should not be construed as completely prohibiting entering into a pledge or a promise in this age.
Again, the kingdom standards are in contrast to the Mosaic law with its demand for an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Those in the kingdom were exhorted not to resist evil, but if smitten on the right cheek, they were to turn the other also. This principle was further expanded by the instruction that if a man be sued at law, he should allow his adversary not only to take his coat or tunic but his cloak or robe also; if compelled to go a mile, he should volunteer to go two; and should give to those that borrow and not turn them away. In the millennial kingdom, such high standards could be literally enforced.
It is not clear whether Jesus expected immediate compliance. Jesus Himself was unresisting as He went to the cross. Paul, however, claimed his rights as a Roman citizen when falsely accused. The principle should probably be construed as being illustrated here but not applicable to every conceivable situation. What might work with the King present in the millennial kingdom might not work in the mystery form of the kingdom with the King absent.
Although some might deduce from the principles of the kingdom expounded here that the Bible supports pacifism, most interpreters would not draw this conclusion. In dealing with publicans, John the Baptist instructed them not to abuse their power (Luk3 13-14). Jesus here was not trying to give hard and fast principles that are applicable under all circumstances, but was stating the ideals which govern His kingdom.
The principle that our acts should be by unselfish love is clear. This is brought out in the closing passage of Matthew 5, where, in contrast to the law, which exhorted men to love their neighbor but permitted them to hate their enemy, Jesus laid down the principle that citizens of His kingdom should love their enemies, bless those that curse them, do good to those that hate them, and pray for those who persecute them. In this, they would emulate the love of God, which causes His sun to shine upon both the evil and the good and sends rain both for the just and unjust. He pointed out that even the world, with its tax collectors, rewards those that reward them and greets those that greet them. Morgan notes love is “the principle of life that crowns everything,” and that love is the guiding principle of this entire chapter The standard of conduct in all areas should be God’s attitude of love.
Chapter 5 concludes with the exhortation to be perfect, as God the Father in heaven is perfect. Perfection here refers to uprightness and sincerity of character with the thought of maturity in godliness or attaining the goal of conformity to the character of God. While sinless perfection is impossible, godliness, in its biblical concept, is attainable.
III. Key Verse Examinations. Ryrie Study Bible, 1986, Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., Litt. D., 1925-20
5:18. “smallest letter of stroke.” The smallest Hebrew letter is “youdh,” which looks like an apostrophe (‘). A “stroke” is a very small extension or protrusion on several Hebrew letters, which distinguish these from similar ones (like, in English, and R from a P). The Lord’s point is that every letter of every word of the OT is vital and will be fulfilled.
5:20. “your righteousness.” We may understand this as “your practice of religion.” The Pharisees’ righteousness was external; it should be internal.
5:22. “good for nothing,” or “empty head.” “fiery hell.” The word translated “hell” is “Geenna,” or “Gehenna,” a place in the valley of Hinnom where human sacrifices had been offered (cf. Jer 7:31) and where the continuous burning of rubbish made it an apt illustration of the lake of fire (Mark 9:44, James 3:6, Rev 20:14).
5:28. The lustful desire in one’s heart can lead to the sinful act.
5:29-30. This is strong language, used to emphasize the comparison; i.e., sin is so dangerous because it leads to external condemnation, that it would be better to lose hands or eyes temporarily than to lose life eternally.
5:32. “except for the reason of unchastity.” It is disallowed except for unchastity, which may mean, (1) adultery, (2), unfaithfulness during the period of betrothal, or (3) marriage between relatives (Lev 18).
5:33-37. “MAKE FALSE VOWS, ” or perjure yourself. (Oaths taken in the name of the Lord were binding, and perjury was strongly condemned in the law (Ex 20:7, Lev 19:12; Deu 19:16-19). Every oath contained an affirmation or promise, and an appeal to God as the omniscient punisher of falsehoods, which made the oath binding. Thus we find phrases like “as the Lord lives.” (1 Sam 14:39). The emphasis on the sanctity of oaths led to the feeling that ordinary phrasing need not be truthful or binding. Jesus, however, taught (v 37) that we should say, and mean, yes or no, and never equivocate.
5:38. See Ex 21:24. The “lex talionis” (law of retaliation) did provide for the ending of feuds, but Christ showed another way to do the same (vs 39-42). See note on Lev 24:20.
5:40. “shirt.” An undergarment. “coat.” An outer garment.
5:43. “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. See Lev 19:16-18.
5:44. A new teaching, found nowhere in the OT.
5:48. “perfect.” Not without sin,but mature and complete in the likeness of God.
IV. Matthew’s significance to the Jews. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. B., Th., D., 1915-2014) Things To Come, p 140.
The Gospel of Matthew is the Gospel which presents the Lord Jesus Christ as Yahweh’s King and Israel’s Messiah. It unfolds the presentation of the Messiah to Israel.
More than any other of the Gospels, Matthew’s is allied with the Hebrew Scriptures in theme and tone; their subjects are its subjects, the Messiah, Israel, the Law, the Kingdom, Prophecy. Jewish ideas and terms characterize the whole record. Its witness would not have impressed either the Roman, for whom Mark wrote, or the Greek for whom Luke wrote, but to Jews its significance would be inescapable.
This fact is borne out by the numerous references to the Son of David (1:1, 20; 9:27, etc); to the fulfillment of prophecy (1:22; 2:5, etc.),to Jewish customs (15:1-2; 27:62), to the Mosaic Law (5:17-19 etc.), to the Sabbath (12:1-2, etc.), and to the holy city and the holy place (4:5:, 24:15; 27:53). Christ is related to prophecy throughout. This will have important bearing on the meaning of the term “kingdom of heaven.”
V. My Bucket List shows the references that I consult, of theologians and printed resources, whenever I write an article that will be posted. Please go to the Pages of my site to find my Bucket List.