Matthew Chapter 5 – The Deity Of Christ

Matthew Chapter 5 – The Deity Of Christ

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Key Verse

Matthew 5:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.


Geneva Study Bible

Christ did not come to bring any new way of righteousness and salvation into the world, but indeed to fulfil that which was shadowed by the figures of the Law, by delivering men through grace from the curse of the Law: and moreover to teach the true use of obedience which the Law appointed, and to engrave in our hearts the power for obedience; that the prophecies may be accomplished.

Study Text

Matthew 5 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Beatitudes

1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Believers Are Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Murder Begins in the Heart

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

Adultery in the Heart

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Marriage Is Sacred and Binding

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Jesus Forbids Oaths

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Go the Second Mile

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Study Notes

5:1—7:29 The Sermon on the Mount introduces a series of 5 important discourses recorded in Matthew (see Introduction: Historical and Theological Themes). This sermon is a masterful exposition of the law and a potent assault on Pharisaic legalism, closing with a call to true faith and salvation (7:13–29). Christ expounded the full meaning of the law, showing that its demands were humanly impossible (cf. 5:48). This is the proper use of the law with respect to salvation: It closes off every possible avenue of human merit and leaves sinners dependent on nothing but divine grace for salvation (cf. Rom. 3:19, 20; Gal. 3:23, 24). Christ plumbed the depth of the law, showing that its true demands went far beyond the surface meaning of the words (5:28, 39, 44) and set a standard that is higher than the most diligent students of the law had heretofore realized (5:20). See note on Luke 6:17–49.
5:1 was seated. This was the normal posture for rabbis while teaching (cf. 13:1, 2; 26:55; Mark 4:1; 9:35; Luke 5:3; John 6:3; 8:2). See note on Luke 4:20.
5:3 Blessed. The word lit. means “happy, fortunate, blissful.” Here it speaks of more than a surface emotion. Jesus was describing the divinely-bestowed well-being that belongs only to the faithful. The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness. The worldly idea is that happiness is found in riches, merriment, abundance, leisure, and such things. The real truth is the very opposite. The Beatitudes give Jesus’ description of the character of true faith. poor in spirit. The opposite of self-sufficiency. This speaks of the deep humility of recognizing one’s utter spiritual bankruptcy apart from God. It describes those who are acutely conscious of their own lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace (cf. 9:12; Luke 18:13). See note on 19:17. theirs is the kingdom of heaven. See note on 3:2. Notice that the truth of salvation by grace is clearly presupposed in this opening verse of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching that the kingdom is a gracious gift to those who sense their own poverty of spirit.
5:4 those who mourn. This speaks of mourning over sin, the godly sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation without regret (2 Cor. 7:10). The “comfort” is the comfort of forgiveness and salvation (cf. Is. 40:1, 2).
5:5 the meek. Meekness is the opposite of being out of control. It is not weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:23). The fact that “the meek shall inherit the earth” is quoted from Ps. 37:11.
5:6 hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is the opposite of the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. It speaks of those who seek God’s righteousness rather than attempting to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:9). What they seek will fill them, i.e., it will satisfy their hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God.
5:7 they shall obtain mercy. The converse is also true. Cf. James 2:13.
5:8 see God. Not only with the perception of faith, but in the glory of heaven. Cf. Heb. 12:14; Rev. 22:3, 4.
5:9 peacemakers. See vv. 44, 45 for more on this quality.
5:10 persecuted. Cf. James 5:10, 11; 1 Pet. 4:12–14. See note on Luke 6:22.
5:13 if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? Salt is both a preservative and a flavor enhancer. No doubt its use as a preservative is what Jesus had mostly in view here. Pure salt cannot lose its flavor or effectiveness, but the salt that is common in the Dead Sea area is contaminated with gypsum and other minerals and may have a flat taste or be ineffective as a preservative. Such mineral salts were useful for little more than keeping footpaths free of vegetation.
5:16 light so shine. A godly life gives convincing testimony of the saving power of God. That brings Him glory. Cf. 1 Pet. 2:12.
5:17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. Jesus was neither giving a new law nor modifying the old, but rather explaining the true significance of the moral content of Moses’ law and the rest of the OT. “The Law and the Prophets” speaks of the entirety of the OT Scriptures, not the rabbinical interpretations of them. fulfill. This speaks of fulfillment in the same sense that prophecy is fulfilled. Christ was indicating that He is the fulfillment of the law in all its aspects. He fulfilled the moral law by keeping it perfectly. He fulfilled the ceremonial law by being the embodiment of everything the law’s types and symbols pointed to. And He fulfilled the judicial law by personifying God’s perfect justice (cf. 12:18, 20).
5:18 till heaven and earth pass away…till all is fulfilled. Here Christ was affirming the utter inerrancy and absolute authority of the OT as the Word of God—down to the least jot and tittle. Again (see note on v. 17), this suggests that the NT should not be seen as supplanting and abrogating the OT, but as fulfilling and explicating it. For example, all the ceremonial requirements of the Mosaic law were fulfilled in Christ and are no longer to be observed by Christians (Col. 2:16, 17). Yet not one jot or tittle is thereby erased; the underlying truths of those Scriptures remain—and in fact the mysteries behind them are now revealed in the brighter light of the gospel. one jot or one tittle. A “jot” refers to the smallest Heb. letter, the yohd, which is a meager stroke of the pen, like an accent mark or an apostrophe. The “tittle” is a tiny extension on a Heb. letter, like the serif in modern typefaces.
5:19 shall be called least…shall be called great. The consequence of practicing or teaching disobedience of any of God’s Word is to be called least in the kingdom of heaven (see note on James 2:10). Determining rank in the kingdom of heaven is entirely God’s prerogative (cf. Matt. 20:23), and Jesus declares that He will hold those in lowest esteem who hold His Word in low esteem. There is no impunity for believers who disobey, discredit, or belittle God’s law (see note on 2 Cor. 5:10). That Jesus does not refer to loss of salvation is clear from the fact that, though offenders will be called least, they will still be in the kingdom of heaven. The positive result is that whoever keeps and teaches God’s Word, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Here again Jesus mentions the two aspects of doing and teaching. Kingdom citizens are to uphold every part of God’s law both in their living and in their teaching.
5:20 unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. On the one hand, Jesus was calling His disciples to a deeper, more radical holiness than that of the Pharisees. Pharisaism had a tendency to soften the law’s demands by focusing only on external obedience. In the verses that follow, Jesus unpacks the full moral significance of the law, and shows that the righteousness the law calls for actually involves an internal conformity to the spirit of the law, rather than mere external compliance to the letter. will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, this sets up an impossible barrier to works-salvation. Scripture teaches repeatedly that sinners are capable of nothing but a flawed and imperfect righteousness (e.g., Is. 64:6). Therefore the only righteousness by which sinners may be justified is the perfect righteousness of God that is imputed to those who believe (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:5).
5:21, 22 You have heard…. But I say to you. See vv. 27, 31, 33, 38, 43. The quotes are from Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17. Jesus was not altering the terms of the law in any of these passages. Rather, He was correcting what they had “heard”—the rabbinical understanding of the law (see note on v. 38).
5:22 Raca! Lit. “Empty-headed!” Jesus suggested here that the verbal abuse stems from the same sinful motives (anger and hatred) that ultimately lead to murder. The internal attitude is what the law actually prohibits, and therefore an abusive insult carries the same kind of moral guilt as an act of murder. hell. A reference to the Hinnom Valley, SW of Jerusalem. Ahaz and Manasseh permitted human sacrifices there during their reigns (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6), and therefore it was called “The Valley of Slaughter” (Jer. 19:6). In Jesus’ day, it was a garbage dump where fires burned continually and was thus an apt symbol of eternal fire.
5:25 Agree…quickly. Jesus calls for reconciliation to be sought eagerly, aggressively, quickly—even if it involves self-sacrifice. It is better to be wronged than to allow a dispute between brethren to be a cause for dishonoring Christ (1 Cor. 6:7). adversary. This speaks of one’s opponent in a law case. prison. Debtor’s prison, where the person could work to earn back what he had defrauded.
5:27 Quoted from Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18.
5:29 pluck it out and cast it from you. Jesus was not advocating self-mutilation (for this would not in fact cure lust, which is actually a problem of the heart). He was using this graphic hyperbole to demonstrate the seriousness of sins of lust and evil desire. The point is that it would be “more profitable” (v. 30) to lose a member of one’s own body than to bear the eternal consequences of the guilt from such a sin. Sin must be dealt with drastically because of its deadly effects.
5:31 it has been said. See note on Deut. 24:1–4. The rabbis had taken liberty with what Scripture actually said. They referred to Deut. 24:1–4 as if it were given merely to regulate the paperwork when one sought divorce (see note on 19:7). Thus, they had wrongly concluded that men could divorce their wives for anything that displeased them, as long as they gave “a certificate of divorce.” But Moses provided this as a concession to protect the woman who was divorced (see notes on 19:7–9), not to justify or legalize divorce under all circumstances.
5:32 except sexual immorality. See note on 19:9. Divorce was allowed in cases of adultery. Luke 16:18 must be understood in the light of this verse. causes her to commit adultery. The assumption is that divorced people will remarry. If the divorce was not for sexual immorality, any remarriage is adultery, because God does not acknowledge the divorce. For more on divorce, see note on 1 Cor. 7:15.
5:33 You shall not swear falsely. This expresses teaching from Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21, 23.
5:34 do not swear at all. Cf. James 5:12. This should not be taken as a universal condemnation of oaths in all circumstances. God Himself confirmed a promise with an oath (Heb. 6:13–18; cf. Acts 2:30). Christ Himself spoke under oath (26:63, 64). And the law prescribed oaths in certain circumstances (e.g., Num. 5:19, 21; 30:2, 3). What Christ is forbidding here is the flippant, profane, or careless use of oaths in everyday speech. In that culture, such oaths were often employed for deceptive purposes. To make the person being victimized believe the truth was being told, the Jews would swear by “heaven,” “earth,” “Jerusalem,” or their own “heads” (vv. 34–36), not by God, hoping to avoid divine judgment for their lie. But it all was in God’s creation, so it drew Him in and produced guilt before Him, exactly as if the oath were made in His name. Jesus suggested that all our speech should be as if we were under an oath to tell the truth (v. 37).
5:38 An eye for an eye. The law did establish this standard as a principle for limiting retribution to that which was just (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). Its design was to insure that the punishment in civil cases fit the crime. It was never meant to sanction acts of personal retaliation. So again (see notes on vv. 17, 18) Jesus made no alteration to the true meaning of the law. He was merely explaining and affirming the law’s true meaning.
5:39 not to resist an evil person. Like v. 38, this deals only with matters of personal retaliation, not criminal offenses or acts of military aggression. Jesus applied this principle of non-retaliation to affronts against one’s dignity (v. 39), lawsuits to gain one’s personal assets (v. 40), infringements on one’s liberty (v. 41), and violations of property rights (v. 42). He was calling for a full surrender of all personal rights.
5:41 compels. The word speaks of coercion or force. The NT picture of this is when Roman soldiers “compelled” Simon the Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross (27:32).
5:43 love your neighbor and hate your enemy. The first half of this is found in Moses’ law (Lev. 19:18). The second part was found in how the scribes and Pharisees explained and applied that OT command. Jesus’ application was exactly the opposite, resulting in a much higher standard: Love for one’s neighbors should extend even to those neighbors who are enemies (v. 44). Again, this was no innovation, since even the OT taught that God’s people should do good to their enemies (Prov. 25:21).
5:44, 45 love your enemies…that you may be sons of your Father. This plainly teaches that God’s love extends even to His enemies. This universal love of God is manifest in blessings which God bestows on all indiscriminately. Theologians refer to this as common grace. This must be distinguished from the everlasting love God has for the elect (Jer. 31:3), but it is a sincere goodwill nonetheless (cf. Ps. 145:9).
5:46 tax collectors. Disloyal Israelites hired by the Romans to tax other Jews for personal profit. They became symbols for the worst kind of people. Cf. 9:10, 11; 11:19; 18:17; 21:31; Mark 2:14–16; Luke 5:30; 7:25, 29, 34; 18:11–13. Matthew had been one of them (see notes on 9:9; Mark 2:15).
5:48 you shall be perfect. Christ sets an unattainable standard. This sums up what the law itself demanded (James 2:10). Though this standard is impossible to meet, God could not lower it without compromising His own perfection. He who is perfect could not set an imperfect standard of righteousness. The marvelous truth of the gospel is that Christ has met this standard on our behalf (see note on 2 Cor. 5:21).

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Matthew Chapter 23 – The Deity Of Christ

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Matthew 23 New King James Version (NKJV)

Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees

1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ,and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

Additional Video. The verse of Matthew 23:39 finds its place in the song. That verse has great significance as to the second coming of Christ to physically set foot on planet Earth in the city of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives., per Zechariah 14:1-15, Matthew 24:29-31; Matthew 25:31-46; and Revelation 19:11-20-15.

Paul Wilbur Baruch Haba Blessed Is He Who Comes

Study notes.

23:2 Moses’ seat. The expression is equivalent to a university’s “chair of philosophy.” To “sit in Moses’ seat” was to have the highest authority to instruct people in the law. The expression here may be translated, “[they] have seated themselves in Moses’ seat”—stressing the fact that this was an imaginary authority they claimed for themselves. There was a legitimate sense in which the priests and Levites had authority to decide matters of the law (Deut. 17:9), but the scribes and Pharisees had gone beyond any legitimate authority and were adding human tradition to the Word of God (15:3–9). For that Jesus condemned them (vv. 8–36).

23:3 observe and do. I.e., insofar as it accords with the Word of God. The Pharisees were prone to bind “heavy burdens” (v. 4) of extrabiblical traditions and put them on others’ shoulders. Jesus explicitly condemned that sort of legalism.

23:5 phylacteries. Leather boxes containing a parchment on which is written in 4 columns (Ex. 13:1–10, 11–16; Deut. 6:4–9; 11:13–21). These are worn by men during prayer—one on the middle of the forehead and one on the left arm just above the elbow. The use of phylacteries was based on an overly literal interpretation of passages like Ex. 13:9, 10; Deut. 6:8. Evidently the Pharisees would broaden the leather straps by which the phylacteries were bound to their arms and foreheads, in order to make the phylacteries more prominent. the borders of their garments. I.e., the tassels. Jesus Himself wore them (see note on 9:20), so it was not the tassels themselves that He condemned, only the mentality that would lengthen the tassels to make it appear that one was especially spiritual.

23:8–10 Rabbi…father…teachers. Here Jesus condemns pride and pretense, not titles per se. Paul repeatedly speaks of “teachers” in the church, and even refers to himself as the Corinthians’ “father” (1 Cor. 4:15). Obviously, this does not forbid the showing of respect, either (cf. 1 Thess. 5:11, 12; 1 Tim. 5:1). Christ is merely forbidding the use of such names as spiritual titles, or in an ostentatious sense that accords undue spiritual authority to a human being, as if he were the source of truth rather than God.

23:13 nor do you allow. The Pharisees, having shunned God’s righteousness, were seeking to establish a righteousness of their own (Rom. 10:3)—and teaching others to do so as well. Their legalism and self-righteousness effectively obscured the narrow gate by which the kingdom must be entered (see notes on 7:13, 14).

23:14 This verse does not appear in the earliest available manuscripts of Matthew, but does appear in Mark. See notes on Mark 12:40.

23:15 proselyte. A Gentile convert to Judaism. See Acts 6:5. a son of hell. I.e., someone whose eternal destination is hell.

23:16 it is nothing. This was an arbitrary distinction the Pharisees had made, which gave them a sanctimonious justification for lying with impunity. If someone swore “by the temple” (or the altar, v. 18; or heaven, v. 22), his oath was not considered binding, but if he swore “by the gold of the temple,” he could not break his word without being subject to the penalties of Jewish law. Our Lord makes it clear that swearing by those things is tantamount to swearing by God Himself. See note on 5:34.

23:23 tithe of mint and anise and cummin. Garden herbs, not really the kind of farm produce that the tithe was designed to cover (Lev. 27:30). But the Pharisees fastidiously weighed out a tenth of every herb, perhaps even counting individual anise seeds. Jesus’ point, however, was not to condemn their observance of the law’s fine points. The problem was that they “neglected the weightier matters” of justice and mercy and faith—the moral principles underlying all the laws. They were satisfied with their focus on the incidentals and externals but willfully resisted the spiritual meaning of the law. He told them they should have concentrated on those larger issues “without leaving the others undone.”

23:24 strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. Some Pharisees would strain their beverages through a fine cloth to make sure they did not inadvertently swallow a gnat—the smallest of unclean animals (Lev. 11:23). The camel was the largest of all the unclean animals (Lev. 11:4).

23:25 you cleanse the outside. The Pharisees’ focus on external issues lay at the heart of their error. Who would want to drink from a cup that had been washed on the outside but was still filthy inside? Yet the Pharisees lived their lives as if external appearance were more important than internal reality. That was the very essence of their hypocrisy, and Jesus rebuked them for it repeatedly (see notes on 5:20; 16:12).

23:27 whitewashed tombs. Tombs were regularly whitewashed to make them stand out. Accidentally touching or stepping on a grave caused ceremonial uncleanness (Num. 19:16). A freshly whitewashed tomb would be brilliantly white and clean-looking—and sometimes spectacularly ornate. But the inside was full of defilement and decay. Contrast Jesus’ words here and in Luke 11:44.

23:30 we would not have been partakers. A ridiculous claim to self-righteousness when they were already plotting the murder of the Messiah (cf. John 11:47–53).

23:34 prophets, wise men, and scribes. I.e., the disciples, as well as the prophets, evangelists, and pastors who followed them (cf. Eph. 4:11).

23:35 Abel…Zechariah. The first and last OT martyrs, respectively. son of Berechiah. (Zech. 1:1). The OT does not record how he died. However, the death of another Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, is recorded in 2 Chr. 24:20, 21. He was stoned in the court of the temple, exactly as Jesus describes here. All the best manuscripts of Matthew contain the phrase “Zechariah, son of Berechiah” (though it does not appear in Luke 11:51). Some have suggested that the Zechariah in 2 Chr. 24 was actually a grandson of Jehoiada, and that his father’s name was also Berechiah. But there is no difficulty if we simply take Jesus’ words at face value and accept His infallible testimony that Zechariah the prophet was martyred between the temple and the altar, in a way very similar to how the earlier Zechariah was killed.

23:36 this generation. Historically, this was the generation that experienced the utter destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple in A.D. 70. Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem and His removal of the blessing of God from the temple (vv. 37, 38) strongly suggest that the sacking of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was the judgment He was speaking about. See notes on 22:7; 24:2; Luke 19:43.

23:37 I wanted…but you were not willing! God is utterly sovereign and therefore fully capable of bringing to pass whatever He desires (cf. Is. 46:10)—including the salvation of whomever He chooses (Eph. 1:4, 5). Yet, He sometimes expresses a wish for that which He does not sovereignly bring to pass (cf. Gen. 6:6; Deut. 5:29; Ps. 81:13; Is. 48:18). Such expressions in no way suggest a limitation on the sovereignty of God or imply any actual change in Him (Num. 23:19). But these statements do reveal essential aspects of the divine character: He is full of compassion, sincerely good to all, desirous of good, not evil—and therefore not delighting in the destruction of the wicked (Ezek. 18:32; 33:11). While affirming God’s sovereignty, one must understand His pleas for the repentance of the reprobate as well meant appeals—and His goodness toward the wicked as a genuine mercy designed to provoke them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). The emotion displayed by Christ here (and in all similar passages, such as Luke 19:41) is obviously a deep, sincere passion. All Christ’s feelings must be in perfect harmony with the divine will (cf. John 8:29)—and therefore these lamentations should not be thought of as mere exhibitions of His humanity.

23:38 Your house is left to you desolate. A few days earlier, Christ had referred to the temple as His Father’s “house” (21:13). But the blessing and glory of God were being removed from Israel (see 1 Sam. 4:21). When Christ “departed from the temple” (24:1), the glory of God went with Him. Ezekiel 11:23 described Ezekiel’s vision of the departure of the Shekinah glory in his day. The glory left the temple and stood on the Mt. of Olives (see notes on 24:3; Luke 19:29), exactly the same route Christ followed here (cf. 24:3).

23:39 you shall see Me no more. Christ’s public teaching ministry was over. He withdrew from national Israel until the time yet future when they will recognize Him as Messiah (Rom. 11:23–26). Then Christ quoted from Ps. 118:26.

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Matthew Chapter 4 – The Deity Of Christ

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Matthew 4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Satan Tempts Jesus

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16 The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Jesus Heals a Great Multitude

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

Study notes.

4:1 led up by the Spirit…to be tempted by the devil. God Himself is never the agent of temptation (James 1:13), but here—as in the book of Job—God uses even satanic tempting to serve His sovereign purposes. Christ was tempted in all points (Heb. 4:15; 1 John 2:16); Satan tempted Him with “the lust of the flesh” (vv. 2, 3); “the lust of the eyes” (vv. 8, 9); and “the pride of life” (vv. 5, 6).

4:2 forty days and forty nights. Similarly, Moses was without food or drink on Sinai for “forty days and forty nights” (Deut. 9:9), and Elijah also fasted that long (1 Kin. 19:8). See note on 12:40.

4:3 If You are the Son of God. The conditional “if” carries the meaning of “since” in this context. There was no doubt in Satan’s mind who Jesus was; but Satan’s design was to get Him to violate the plan of God and employ the divine power that He had set aside in His humiliation (cf. Phil. 2:7).

4:4 It is written. All 3 of Jesus’ replies to the Devil were taken from Deuteronomy. This one, from Deut. 8:3, states that God allowed Israel to hunger, so that He might feed them with manna and teach them to trust Him to provide for them. So the verse is directly applicable to Jesus’ circumstances and a fitting reply to Satan’s temptation. every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. A more important source of sustenance than food, it nurtures our spiritual needs in a way that benefits us eternally, rather than merely providing temporal relief from physical hunger.

4:5 pinnacle of the temple. This was probably a roof with a portico at the SE corner of the temple complex, where a massive retaining wall reached from a level well above the temple mount, deep into the Kidron Valley. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, this was a drop of nearly 450 ft.

4:6 For it is written…Lest you dash your foot against a stone. Note that Satan also quoted Scripture (Ps. 91:11, 12)—but utterly twisted its meaning, employing a passage about trusting God to justify testing Him.

4:7 It is written again. Christ replied with another verse from Israel’s wilderness experience (Deut. 6:16)—recalling the experience at Massah, where the grumbling Israelites put the Lord to the test, angrily demanding that Moses produce water where there was none (Ex. 17:2–7).

4:9 I will give You. Satan is the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4). The whole world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). This is illustrated in Dan. 10:13 (see note there), where demonic power controlled the kingdom of Persia, so that a demon is called the Prince of Persia.

4:10 For it is written. Here Christ was citing and paraphrasing Deut. 6:13, 14. Again, these relate to the Israelites’ wilderness experiences. Christ, like them, was led into the wilderness to be tested (cf. Deut. 8:2). Unlike them, He withstood every aspect of the test.

4:11 angels came and ministered to Him. Psalm 91:11, 12—the verse Satan tried to twist—was thus fulfilled in God’s way, and in God’s perfect timing.

4:12 John had been put in prison. John was imprisoned for his bold rebuke of Herod Antipas. See 14:3, 4.

4:13 leaving Nazareth. Some time elapsed between vv. 12 and 13. Jesus’ stay in Nazareth ended abruptly when He was violently rejected by the people of Nazareth, who tried to murder Him (see Luke 4:16–30). Capernaum. He settled in this important town on the trade route at the N end of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum was the home of Peter and Andrew (v. 18), James and John (v. 21), and Matthew (9:9). A comparison of the gospels reveals that Christ had already ministered extensively in Capernaum (see note on Luke 4:23).

4:15 Galilee of the Gentiles. This name was used even in Isaiah’s time because Galilee lay on the route through which all Gentiles passed in and out of Israel. In Jesus’ time, the region of Galilee had become an important center of Roman occupation. The prophecy cited by Matthew is from Is. 9:1, 2. See Is. 42:6, 7.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach. This marks the beginning of His public ministry. Note that His message was an exact echo of what John the Baptist preached. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. See note on 3:2. The opening word of this first sermon sets the tone for Jesus’ entire earthly ministry (cf. Luke 5:32). Repentance was a constant motif in all His public preaching. And in His closing charge to the apostles, He commanded them to preach repentance as well (Luke 24:47).

4:18 two brothers. Jesus had encountered Peter and Andrew before, near Bethabara, in the Jordan region, where Andrew (and perhaps Peter as well) had become a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35–42). They left John to follow Jesus for a time before returning to fishing in Capernaum. Perhaps they had returned to Capernaum during Jesus’ earlier ministry here (see note on Luke 4:23). Here He called them to follow Him in long-term discipleship.

4:21 James the son of Zebedee. This James is easy to distinguish from the other men named James in the NT, because he is never mentioned in Scripture apart from his brother John. His martyrdom by Herod Agrippa I marked the beginning of a time of severe persecution in the early church (Acts 12:2). For information on others named James, see note on 10:2; Introduction to James: Author and Date.

4:23 teaching…preaching…healing. The 3 main aspects of Christ’s public ministry.

4:24 Syria. The area immediately NE of Galilee.

4:25 Decapolis. A confederation of 10 Hellenized cities S of Galilee and mostly E of the Jordan. The league of cities was formed shortly after Pompey’s invasion of Palestine (ca. 64 B.C.) to preserve Gr. culture in the Semitic region. These cities were naturally Gentile strongholds.

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Matthew Chapter 3 – The Deity Of Christ

Matthew Chapter 3 – The Deity Of Christ

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Matthew Chapter 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’”
4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

John Baptizes Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Study notes.

3:1 John the Baptist. Cf. Mark 1:2–14; Luke 1:5–25, 57–80; 3:3–20; John 1:6–8, 19–39. the wilderness of Judea. The region to the immediate W of the Dead Sea—an utterly barren desert. The Jewish sect of the Essenes had significant communities in this region. But there is no biblical evidence to suggest that John was in any way connected with that sect. John seems to have preached near the northern end of this region, close by where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea (v. 6). This was a full day’s journey from Jerusalem and seems an odd location to announce the arrival of a King. But it is perfectly in keeping with God’s ways (1 Cor. 1:26–29).

3:2 Repent. This is no mere academic change of mind, nor mere regret or remorse. John the Baptist spoke of repentance as a radical turning from sin that inevitably became manifest in the fruit of righteousness (v. 8). Jesus’ first sermon began with the same imperative (4:17). For a discussion of the nature of repentance, see notes on 2 Cor. 7:8–11. the kingdom of heaven. This is an expression unique to Matthew’s gospel. Matthew uses the word “heaven” as a euphemism for God’s name—to accommodate his Jewish readers’ sensitivities (cf. 23:22). Throughout the rest of Scripture, the kingdom is called “the kingdom of God.” Both expressions refer to the sphere of God’s dominion over those who belong to Him. The kingdom is now manifest in heaven’s spiritual rule over the hearts of believers (Luke 17:21); and one day it will be established in a literal earthly kingdom (Rev. 20:4–6). is at hand. In one sense the kingdom is a present reality, but in its fullest sense it awaits a yet-future fulfillment.

3:3 spoken of by the prophet Isaiah. John’s mission had long ago been described in Is. 40:3–5 (see notes there). All 4 of the gospels cite this passage as a prophecy pointing to John the Baptist (see note on Luke 3:6).

3:4 clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt. Practical and long-wearing clothes, but far from comfortable or fashionable. John evokes the image of Elijah (2 Kin. 1:8)—and the Israelites were expecting Elijah before the Day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5). locusts. These were an allowed food (Lev. 11:22).

3:6 baptized. The symbolism of John’s baptism likely had its roots in OT purification rituals (cf. Lev. 15:13). Baptism had also long been administered to Gentile proselytes coming into Judaism. The baptism of John thus powerfully and dramatically symbolized repentance. Jews accepting John’s baptism were admitting they had been as Gentiles and needed to become the people of God genuinely, inwardly (an amazing admission, given their hatred of Gentiles). The people were repenting in anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. The meaning of John’s baptism differs somewhat from Christian baptism (cf. Acts 18:25). Actually, Christian baptism altered the significance of the ritual, symbolizing the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3–5; Col. 2:12).

3:7 Pharisees and Sadducees. See note on John 3:1. The Pharisees were a small (about 6,000), legalistic sect of the Jews who were known for their rigid adherence to the ceremonial fine points of the law. Their name means “separated ones.” Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees was usually adversarial. He rebuked them for using human tradition to nullify Scripture (15:3–9), and especially for rank hypocrisy (15:7, 8; 22:18; 23:13, 23, 25, 29; Luke 12:1). The Sadducees were known for their denial of things supernatural. They denied the resurrection of the dead (22:23) and the existence of angels (Acts 23:8). Unlike the Pharisees, they rejected human tradition and scorned legalism. They accepted only the Pentateuch as authoritative. They tended to be wealthy, aristocratic members of the priestly tribe, and in the days of Herod their sect controlled the temple (see note on 2:4), though they were fewer in number than the Pharisees. Pharisees and Sadducees had little in common. Pharisees were ritualists; Sadducees were rationalists. Pharisees were legalists; Sadducees were liberals. Pharisees were separatists; Sadducees were compromisers and political opportunists. Yet they united together in their opposition to Christ (22:15, 16, 23, 34, 35). John publicly addressed them as deadly snakes. the wrath to come.See note on Luke 3:7. John’s preaching echoed the familiar OT theme of promised wrath in the Day of the Lord (e.g., Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:18; see Introduction to Joel: Historical and Theological Themes). This must have been a particularly stinging rebuke to the Jewish leaders, who imagined that divine wrath was reserved only for non-Jews.

3:8 fruits worthy of repentance. See note on v. 2. Repentance itself is not a work, but works are its inevitable fruit. Repentance and faith are inextricably linked in Scripture. Repentance means turning from one’s sin, and faith is turning to God (cf. 1 Thess. 1:9). They are like opposite sides of the same coin. That is why both are linked to conversion (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19; 20:21). Note that the works John demanded to see were “fruits” of repentance. But repentance itself is no more a “work” than faith is (see note on 2 Tim. 2:25).

3:9 Abraham as our father. See John 8:39–44. They believed that merely being descendants of Abraham, members of God’s chosen race, made them spiritually secure. But Abraham’s real descendants are those who share his faith (cf. Rom. 4:16). And “only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7, 29). See note on Luke 3:8.

3:10 the ax is laid to the root. Irreversible judgment was imminent (see note on 11:3).

3:11 Three types of baptism are referred to here: 1) with water unto repentance. John’s baptism symbolized cleansing (see note on v. 6); 2) with the Holy Spirit. All believers in Christ are Spirit-baptized (1 Cor. 12:13); and 3) with…fire. Because fire is used throughout this context as a means of judgment (vv. 10, 12), this must speak of a baptism of judgment upon the unrepentant.

3:12 winnowing fan. A tool for tossing grain into the wind so that the chaff is blown away.

3:14 John tried to prevent Him. John’s baptism symbolized repentance, and John saw this as inappropriate for the One he knew was the spotless Lamb of God (cf. John 1:29).

3:15 it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them (2 Cor. 5:21). This act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners. This first public event of His ministry is also rich in meaning: 1) it pictured His death and resurrection (cf. Luke 12:50); 2) it therefore prefigured the significance of Christian baptism (see note on v. 6); 3) it marked His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear (Is. 53:11; 1 Pet. 3:18); and 4) it was a public affirmation of His messiahship by testimony directly from heaven (see note on v. 17).

3:16, 17 Jesus…the Spirit of God…a voice came from heaven. Here all 3 Persons of the Trinity are clearly delineated. See note on Luke 3:22. The Father’s command to hear His Son and the Spirit’s vindication and empowerment (see note on 12:31) officially inaugurated Christ’s ministry.

3:17 My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This heavenly pronouncement combines language from Ps. 2:7 and Is. 42:1—prophecies that would have been well known to those with messianic expectations. Cf. 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35.

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Matthew Chapter 2 -The Deity Of Christ

Matthew Chapter 2 – The Deity Of Christ

Matthew 2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Wise Men from the East

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

The Flight into Egypt

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Massacre of the Innocents
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

The Home in Nazareth

19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Scripture Notes.

2:1 Bethlehem. A small village on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. Hebrew scholars in Jesus’ day clearly expected Bethlehem to be the birthplace of the Messiah (cf. Mic. 5:2; John 7:42). in the days of Herod the king. This refers to Herod the Great, the first of several important rulers from the Herodian dynasty who are named in Scripture. This Herod, founder of the famous line, ruled from 37–4 B.C. He is thought to have been Idumean, a descendant of the Edomites, offspring of Esau. Herod was ruthless and cunning. He loved opulence and grand building projects, and many of the most magnificent ruins that can be seen in modern Israel date back to the days of Herod the Great. His most famous project was the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem (see note on 24:1). That project alone took several decades and was not completed until long after Herod’s death (cf. John 2:20). See note on v. 22. wise men from the East. The number of wise men is not given. The traditional notion that there were 3 stems from the number of gifts they brought. These were not kings, but Magi, magicians or astrologers—possibly Zoroastrian wise men from Persia whose knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures could be traced back to the time of Daniel (cf. Dan. 5:11).
2:2 saying. This present participle conveys the idea of continuous action. It suggests they went around the city questioning everyone they met. star. This could not have been a supernova or a conjunction of planets, as some modern theories suggest, because of the way the star moved and settled over one place (cf. v. 9). It is more likely a supernatural reality similar to the Shekinah that guided the Israelites in the days of Moses (Ex. 13:21).
2:4 chief priests. These were the temple hierarchy. They were mostly Sadducees (see note on 3:7). scribes. Primarily Pharisees, i.e., authorities on Jewish law. Sometimes they are referred to as “lawyers” (see note on Luke 10:25). They were professional scholars whose specialty was explaining the application of the law. They knew exactly where the Messiah was to be born (v. 5), but lacked the faith to accompany the Magi to the place where He was.
2:6 This ancient prophecy from Mic. 5:2 was written in the eighth century B.C. The original prophecy, not quoted in full by Matthew, declared the deity of Israel’s Messiah: “Out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel. This portion of Matthew’s quote actually seems to be a reference to God’s words to David when Israel’s kingdom was originally established (2 Sam. 5:2; 1 Chr. 11:2). The Gr. word for “ruler” evokes the image of strong, even stern, leadership. “Shepherd” emphasizes tender care. Christ’s rule involves both (cf. Rev. 12:5).
2:8 that I may come and worship Him. Herod actually wanted to kill the Child (vv. 13–18), whom he saw as a potential threat to his throne.
2:11 into the house. By the time the wise men arrived, Mary and Joseph were situated in a house, not a stable (cf. Luke 2:7). the young Child with Mary His mother. Whenever Matthew mentions Mary in connection with her Child, Christ is always given first place (cf. vv. 13, 14, 20, 21). gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gifts suitable for a king (cf. Is. 60:6). The fact that Gentiles would offer such worship had prophetic significance as well (Ps. 72:10).
2:12, 13 in a dream. See note on 1:20.
2:15 the death of Herod. Recent scholarship sets this date at 4 B.C. It is probable that the stay in Egypt was very brief—perhaps no more than a few weeks. Out of Egypt. This quotation is from Hos. 11:1 (see note there), which speaks of God’s leading Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus. Matthew suggests that Israel’s sojourn in Egypt was a pictorial prophecy, rather than a specific verbal one such as v. 6; cf. 1:23. These are called “types” and all are always fulfilled in Christ, and identified clearly by the NT writers. Another example of a type is found in John 3:14. See note on v. 17.
2:16 put to death all the male children. Herod’s act is all the more heinous in light of his full knowledge that the Lord’s Anointed One was the target of his murderous plot.
2:17 fulfilled. See note on v. 15. Again, this prophecy is in the form of a type. Verse 18 quotes Jer. 31:15 (see note there), which speaks of all Israel’s mourning at the time of the Babylonian captivity (ca. 586 B.C.). That wailing prefigured the wailing over Herod’s massacre.
2:19 in a dream. See note on 1:20.
2:22 Archelaus. Herod’s kingdom was divided 3 ways and given to his sons: Archelaus ruled Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; Herod Philip II ruled the regions N of Galilee (Luke 3:1); and Herod Antipas ruled Galilee and Perea (Luke 3:1). History records that Archelaus was so brutal and ineffective that he was deposed by Rome after a short reign and replaced with a governor appointed by Rome. Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor of Judea. Herod Antipas is the main Herod in the gospel accounts. He was the one who had John the Baptist put to death (14:1–12), and examined Christ on the eve of the crucifixion (Luke 23:7–12).
2:23 “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Nazareth, an obscure town 70 mi. N of Jerusalem, was a place of lowly reputation, and nowhere mentioned in the OT. Some have suggested that “Nazarene” is a reference to the Heb. word for branch in Is. 11:1. Others point out that Matthew’s statement that “prophets” had made this prediction may be a reference to verbal prophecies nowhere recorded in the OT. A still more likely explanation is that Matthew is using “Nazarene” as a synonym for someone who is despised or detestable—for that was how people from the region were often characterized (cf. John 1:46). If that is the case, the prophecies Matthew has in mind would include Ps. 22:6–8; Is. 49:7; 53:3.

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Matthew Chapter 1 – The Deity Of Christ

Matthew Chapter 1

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king.
David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. 8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. 9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. 11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. 14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. 15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. 16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

Christ Born of Mary

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

Commentary. Notes from; MacArthur Study Bible notes.

1:1 book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. This phrase is viewed by some as Matthew’s title for the entire gospel. The Gr. phrase translated “book of the genealogy” is exactly the same phrase used in Gen. 5:1 in the LXX. Jesus Christ. The Hebrew Jeshua means “the Lord is Salvation.” Christos means “anointed one” and is the exact equivalent of the Heb. word for “Messiah” (Dan. 9:25). Son of David. A messianic title used as such in only the synoptic gospels (see notes on 22:42, 45). Son of Abraham.Takes His royal lineage all the way back to the nation’s inception in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1–3).

1:2 For a comparison of this genealogy and the one given by Luke, see note on Luke 3:23–38.

1:3 Tamar. It is unusual for women to be named in genealogies. Matthew names 5: “Tamar” was a Canaanite woman who posed as a prostitute to seduce Judah (Gen. 38:13–30). “Rahab” (v. 5) was a Gentile and a prostitute (Josh. 2:1). “Ruth” (v. 5) was a Moabite woman (Ruth 1:3) and a worshiper of idols. “Bathsheba” (“Uriah’s wife,” v. 6) committed adultery with David (2 Sam. 11). And “Mary” (v. 16) bore the stigma of pregnancy outside of wedlock. Each of these women is an object lesson about the workings of divine grace.

1:5, 6 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab…and Jesse begot David the king. This is not an exhaustive genealogy. Several additional generations must have elapsed between Rahab (in Joshua’s time) and David (v. 6)—nearly 4 centuries later. Matthew’s genealogy (like most of the biblical ones) sometimes skips over several generations between well known characters in order to abbreviate the listing.

1:8 Joram begot Uzziah. Cf. 1 Chr. 3:10–12. Matthew skips over Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah, going directly from Joram to Uzziah (Azariah)—using a kind of genealogical shorthand. He seems to do this intentionally in order to make a symmetrical 3-fold division in v. 17.

1:11 Josiah begot Jeconiah. Again, Matthew skips a generation between Josiah and Jeconiah (cf. 1 Chr. 3:14–16). Jeconiah is also called Jehoiachin (2 Kin. 24:6; 2 Chr. 36:8) and sometimes Coniah (Jer. 22:24). Jeconiah’s presence in this genealogy presents an interesting dilemma. A curse on him forbade any of his descendants from the throne of David forever (Jer. 22:30). Since Jesus was heir through Joseph to the royal line of descent, but not an actual son of Joseph and thus not a physical descendant through this line, the curse bypassed him.

1:12 Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. See 1 Chr. 3:17–19, where Zerubbabel is said to be the offspring of Pedaiah, Shealtiel’s brother. Elsewhere in the OT, Zerubbabel is always called the son of Shealtiel. (e.g., Hag. 1:1; Ezra 3:2; Neh. 12:1). Possibly Shealtiel adopted his nephew (see note on Hag. 2:23). Zerubbabel is the last character in Matthew’s list who appears in any of the OT genealogies.

1:16 Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus.This is the only entry in the entire genealogy where the word “begot” is not used—including those where whole generations were skipped. The pronoun “whom” is sing., referring to Mary alone. The unusual way in which this final entry is phrased underscores the fact that Jesus was not Joseph’s literal offspring. The genealogy nonetheless establishes His claim to the throne of David as Joseph’s legal heir.

1:17 fourteen generations. The significance of the number 14 is not clear, but Matthew’s attention to numbers—a distinctly Hebrew characteristic—is evident throughout the gospel. The systematic ordering may be an aid for memorization. Note that Matthew counts Jeconiah in both the third and fourth groups, representing both the last generation before the Babylonian captivity and the first generation after.

1:18 betrothed. Jewish betrothal was as binding as modern marriage. A divorce was necessary to terminate the betrothal (v. 19) and the betrothed couple were regarded legally as husband and wife (v. 19)—although physical union had not yet taken place. See note on Luke 2:5. with child of the Holy Spirit. See vv. 20, 23; Luke 1:26–35.

1:19 Joseph…being a just man…was minded to put her away secretly. Stoning was the legal prescription for this sort of adultery (Deut. 22:23, 24). Joseph’s righteousness meant he was also merciful; thus he did not intend to make Mary “a public example.” The phrase “a just man” is a Hebraism suggesting that he was a true believer in God who had thereby been declared righteous, and who carefully obeyed the law (see Gen. 6:9). To “put her away” would be to obtain a legal divorce (19:8, 9; Deut. 24:1), which according to the Jewish custom was necessary in order to dissolve a betrothal (see note on v. 18).

1:20 an angel of the Lord. This is one of only a few such angelic visitations in the NT, most of which are associated with Christ’s birth. For others, see 28:2; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7–10; 27:23; Rev. 1:1. in a dream. As if to underscore the supernatural character of Christ’s advent, Matthew’s narrative of the event describes 5 such revelatory dreams: v. 20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22. Here the angel told Joseph he was to take Mary into his own home.

1:21 Jesus. See v. 25; Luke 1:31. The name actually means “Savior” (see note on v. 1).

1:22 that it might be fulfilled. Matthew points out fulfillments of OT prophecies no less than a dozen times (cf. 2:15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14, 35; 21:4; 26:54–56; 27:9, 35). He quotes from the OT more than 60 times, more frequently than any other NT writer, except Paul in Romans.

1:23 virgin. Scholars sometimes dispute whether the Hebrew term in Is. 7:14 means “virgin” or “maiden.” Matthew is quoting here from the LXX which uses the unambiguous Gr. term for “virgin” (see note on Is. 7:14). Thus Matthew, writing under the Spirit’s inspiration, ends all doubt about the meaning of the word in Is. 7:14. Immanuel. Cf. Is. 8:8, 10.

1:24 took to him his wife. See note on Luke 2:5.

1:25 know her. A euphemism for sexual intercourse. See Gen. 4:1, 17, 25; 38:26; Judg. 11:39.

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The scripture text was taken from

The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.

Scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in