Matthew 5
  A fresh look at old truth 1   Meaning of adultery 27
  Unusual blessings 3   Misuse of oaths 33
  Importance of influence 13   Avoid revenge 38
  Jesus supports the law 17   Love enemies 43
  Hatred condemned 21   Summary: Be perfect 48


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Comments
This chapter begins what we call the sermon on the mount. It continues through 8:1. Compare the same discourse recorded by Luke at his 6:17 to 6:49.
.1 ¶ And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
.2  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
   1 - Multitude This is the first of three chapters recording Jesus' position statement as He began his ministry. It is popularly known as the sermon on the mount. Jesus' teaching was mostly very different from what the Jewish leaders taught. They had been teaching a false concept of how God relates to us. Jesus here presents the basics.
.3 ¶ Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
.5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
.6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after 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 the children of God.
.10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  3 - Blessed Greek makarioi Two words are translated "blessed" although they can also mean "happy."
  5 - Meek This is not to be confused with cowardice. nu1203. Jesus quoted from ps03711.
  6 - Hunger ... righteousness Unless we care about our spiritual health, we will not receive the righteousness of Christ. God doesn't push on us what we do not really want je2913, jn1624. This should not discourage the weak soul because Jesus answers the one who wants his faith strengthened mr0924. We choose what we long for. Solomon looked for physical satisfaction 1ki1103 but when returning to God, he concluded that only a relationship to the Creator could bring deep satisfaction and joy ec1201, ec1213. Jesus clarified that He was the water and bread of life jn0626-59. We must buy the water but we pay no money is5501, re0318. What a marvelous Saviour that bore our guilt and grief to give us joy that never fades jn1511!
.11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
 12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
  11 - Blessed ... when men shall revile you and persecute Sounds strange at first. But study the context. Also ps0123.
  12 - Rejoice The key to understanding is at the end of the verse, "for my sake." Consider this: "And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor." (The Desire of Ages, p.224). As we live for Christ and and take up our cross for Him, we develop a closeness that will be a joy throughout eternity ph0129.
.13 ¶ Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
.14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
.15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
.16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
   15 - Candle Literally a "lamp." Greek luc"../John/os.
   16 - Good works We tend to emphasize grace to the point of denying that works are important. Yet they are the basis of judgment re2212.
   16 - Glorify your Father This is the privilege, indeed the duty, of all who would follow Christ hk0214.
.17 ¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.    17 - Law This refers to the books of Moses which include the ten commandments. Some believe that the law is no longer binding because Christ fulfilled it on the cross. He fulfilled part of it, but verse 18 specifies the passing away of heaven and earth and all the law. We discuss this carefully on another page re1406e-law., ec0314. Compare da0725.
.18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.   18 - Verily Greek, amen, from Hebrew amen (accent marks not shown). Meaning firm, or established or sure. In Hebrew (OT) it shows confirmation and emphasis in response to a statement. nu0522, de2715. The NT often uses it in the same way 1co1416 and also to close statements of praise ro0125, ga0105, or prayer re2220.
   Jesus used amen to emphasize or confirm His own statements as in our present verse and mt0602, mt0616, and so on. In Jo"../John/, we find the double use of the word (verily, verily) 25 times. jn0303, jn0834.
  18 - Jot From iota, a letter in the Greek alphabet.
  18 - Fulfilled From ginomai "to become," "to take place, to be established." See verse 7.
  18 - No wise pass The principles of God's law are permanent.
 19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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  19 - Break From luo "to loosen." As in mt1818. Kataluo is a stronger form of the word mt0517. Jesus' use of the weaker form may indicate that even a little pet sin is not okay.
  19 - Least Will law breakers be in heaven? Not according to verse 20 understanding the moral law to be the standard of righteousness ro0213. Being the least was from a human viewpoint considering the arrangement of guilt described in the following:
  19 - Least commandments "The scribes had meticulously arranged all the precepts of the law of God, the laws of Moses, civil and ceremonial, and their own regulations in a scale of relative importance, on the presumption that when in conflict a requirement of lesser importance was nullified by one of presumably greater importance. By means of this petty legalism it was possible to devise means of circumventing the plainest requirements of the law of God. For illustrations of the application of this principle see mt2304, mt2314, mt2324, mr0707-13, jn0723." (SDA Bible Commentary).
  19 - Teach men so Jeroboam was guilty in this sense 1ki1416.
  19 - Called ... least Jesus was not saying that law breakers would be in heaven. He spoke often of the "kingdom of heaven" which may be seen as His followers who had accepted His plan of joy and righteousness. They planned to be among those taken to heaven jn1401-3. See mt1111.
.20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.   20 - Righteousness Christ was telling His twelve disciples and others.
  20 - Exceed ... Scribes ... These spiritual leaders considered themselves very pious lu1809-14 and excused their own pet sins.
.21 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
.22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
 23  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
 24  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
.25  Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
 26  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
  21 - Ye have heard Jesus amplifies the meaning of the ten commandments. This is the sixth, ex2013. The Jews placed great importance on obedience. Jesus agrees although He did not approve of the laws that they had added mt1509. Here He shows that they did not understand or teach the deeper meaning of the laws.
  22 - Angry See also hateth brother, 1ti0208.
.27 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
 28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
.29  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
.30  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
.31  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
.32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
   27 - Old time Indeed, this is the seventh commandment ex2014. The Jewish leaders had apparently compromised its meaning.
   28 - Looketh The principle is that sin begins in the mind. When the idea comes through temptation, it must be immediately rejected 2ti0222, ep0426, jb3621.
   30 - Right hand Here the offending hand, in the context of ways to commit adultery, may represent touching that is inappropriate before marriage. It also represents masturbation. With a little reflection, we can see how the practice hurts us emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually. It is a difficult addiction to break without the power of God. Is God asking us to cut off a hand? No, but to realize that breaking a habit like this will take that kind of determination empowered by divine strength. And that it really would be better to have only one hand than to lose eternal life. The evil one cannot force us to sin. Christ's promise is in 1co1013. So plead with God. Habits are hard to break. Promise Him. Then keep the promise.
   Ask God to be your strength by spending time in the morning with Him in prayer. If you slip, get up and go again. As you keep the promise you become stronger. Realize that you are asking for a lifestyle change! When tempted, turn your thoughts to the One who died for you.
.33 ¶ Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
 34  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
.35  Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
 36  Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
 37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
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  33 - Again See on
v21.
  33 - Hath been said Jesus summarizes laws both from the ten commandments and those written by moses (although given by God). le1912, ex2007, nu3002, de2322.
  33 - Forswear Swear falsely.
The link codes often indicate more than a single verse.
  34 - Swear not To understand what is meant think about the words which follow through v37 and see mt2316. Some understand Jesus to have forbidden oaths of swearing that a thing is true as well as pledging rashly on the basis of what is out of one's ownership or power as indicated in our passage. In fact, any statement of what one will do or any promise is swearing although we do not use that word for it. Consider wedding vows or baptismal vows. Many such statements are not only permissible but important.
  35 - City of the great King It was His city. See ps04802.
  37 - Yea, yea, Nay, nay If we look at the very literally meaning of this verse we would have a limited vocabulary. Our "yes, yes" or "yes indeed." is the key element in the promise or vow and is very appropriate. "Will you tell the whole truth?" We may answer simply "Yes." Or "Do you promise?" "I do." And we may add a prayer for God to help us keep the promise: "so help me God."
.38 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
.39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
.40  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
 41  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
 42  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
  38 - Eye for an eye We find the principle beginning in ex2122. Here Jesus helps us see that forgiveness is a principle that revenge is not right. He taught the spirit of the law.
  39,40 - Cheek See on ps14312.
  40 - Coat A light garment worn under the cloke. The cloke (himation) was  heavier and used for warmth at night. The poor often had only one garment beside the loincloth.
.43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
.44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
.45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
.46  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
 47  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
  43ff - Compare lu0632ff.
  44 - But I say Love This must have seemed very strange. The people were hoping to conqueror Rome.
.48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.   We grow in grace in our walk with Christ. We become spiritually mature along the way He leads and through the knowledge from His word 2pe0318, jn1717. We do not become God or equal the glory of His perfection, but we accept a portion of the nature of Christ 2pe0104 and are cleansed ep0526, re0714a. Our Father in heaven is perfect, so may we be in the way He has provided.
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