The Anticipation of Jesus (Matthew 8:5-13)

The confession of the centurion led Jesus to make a prophetic announcement concerning the final day. There are several details here that we should note for our encouragement. First, there is the confidence of Jesus in the success of the gospel. This one Gentile centurion was a sample of the many Gentiles who would believe in him from the east and...

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The Astonishment of Jesus (Matthew 8:5-13)

The first comment that we can make about this is that the response of Jesus reveals the reality of his humanity. We find it difficult to know what to think of Jesus at times because he is both God and man. One way to consider his humanity is to remind ourselves that he will always do what is appropriate in each situation. We see this on numerous...

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The Approach of the Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13)

The original readers of Matthew lived under the control of the Roman Empire. They also knew that Jesus was demanding from his followers a higher commitment to him than they could show to the authority of Rome. No doubt they would have anticipated a collision eventually between the representatives of Rome and Jesus or with one or more of his...

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The response of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)

The response of Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4)
The first detail that Matthew highlights is the willingness of Jesus to identify with needy sinners. This is revealed in his response of touching the leper. In the eyes of the community, this action made Jesus unclean (Leviticus 5:3), whereas in reality the opposite was taking place. Jesus was cleansing the...

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The approach of the leper (Matthew 8:1-4)

We are not told how the leper knew he could come to Jesus nor why he should want to come to Jesus. The assumption is that he had heard of the miracles that Jesus had already performed (Matthew 4:23) and decided that since Jesus had helped others he could help him as well. Such a deduction is part of the logic of saving faith because it learns from...

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A picture of sin (Matthew 8:1-4)

There are various ways in the Bible by which leprosy pictured sin. Leprosy prevented someone from approaching the temple to worship God. This means that leprosy illustrated someone who was separated from God, and sin does this in a far more serious way that leprosy does. There will be lepers in heaven who were never healed of their leprosy, but...

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Jesus and needy individuals (Matthew 8:1-4)

Matthew mentions that Jesus was followed by great crowds and no doubt each of them had a story to tell about what they thought of Jesus and perhaps some of them had received a great blessing from him. Nevertheless, in this chapter, Matthew chooses to describe isolated incidents in which Jesus helped unlikely people.

The Gospel of Matthew was...

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Two houses and two foundations (Matthew 7:24-29)

The imagery of a building and its foundation is often used in the Bible to illustrate different points. For example, Jesus told Peter about how the church would be built on the foundation mentioned by Peter. Paul described the church as a building erected on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. He also referred to the possibility of...

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False teachers (Matthew 7:15-25)


Jesus informs his disciples that false teachers will look good because they wear sheep’s clothing. The danger is in their hearts. Yet how can we know false prophets since we cannot read their hearts. Jesus points out that we can know them by their fruits, which is another way of describing their followers. Their followers will be spiritually u...

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Two roads (Matthew 7:13-14)

The key to this illustration is the gate into each road. It looks as if Jesus is using a crossroads to illustrate his point. The gate to the broad road is wide, the road itself is downhill (is that what he means by easy?), and its terminus is destruction. There is a signpost indicating where the road will take those who travel on it. The gate is...

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The relevance of the Old Testament (Matthew 7:12)

Jesus teaches his disciples that this attitude is not only a summary of his Sermon on the Mount. He also states that it is a summary of the message of the Old Testament scriptures. The phrase ‘the law and the prophets’ is another way of saying the Old Testament. 

There is a tendency today to regard the Old Testament as inferior to the New and...

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The Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12)


This verse seems to be a summary statement of the teaching that Jesus has given in the Sermon on the Mount. Often it is said that preachers should be able to summarise their message in a sentence. Whether that is the case or not I cannot say, although it is of interest that Jesus, the master preacher, did so here.

The obvious deduction that can be...

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Certainty of answers (Matthew 7:6-12)


Concerning each of the methods of prayer in these verses, Jesus says that it will be successful. Here he teaches with emphasis that prayer is answered. This means that we can say that prayer proves the faithfulness of God to his promises, the wisdom of God regarding how he produces the answers, and the love and joy that he shows when doing so....

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The places of prayer (Matthew 7:6-12)

It is clear from his illustrations that Jesus has three different locations of prayer in mind. The locations are (1) where a person asks, (2) where a person seeks, and (3) where a person knocks.

When it comes to asking, Jesus gives us a clue to the place that he has in mind when he refers to a child asking his father for food. Asking in prayer is...

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Ask, Seek and Knock (Matt. 7:6-12)

Jesus in this brief section returns to the topic of prayer. He has already given to his disciples the pattern prayer that we call the Lord’s Prayer. We can deduce from the fact that he spoke again about prayer that he regarded it as an important activity for his disciples.

A question that arises is whether or not there are differences between what...

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An example of judging (Matthew 7:1-6)


The Saviour instructs his disciples not to give what is holy to dogs or their pearls to swine. Obviously, a dog would not understand what to do with something that is dedicated to God and nor would a pig know what to do with pearls. At one level, this is common sense. Jesus is teaching his disciples that they have some things that others will not...

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Who is Jesus rebuking? (Matthew 7:1-6)


It is obvious that Jesus is describing a possible problem in the lives of his disciples. We can see this from his use of the term ‘brother’. Yet he is also probably describing a wrong way of dealing with people that was common at that time. He is still speaking about the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees that his disciples are to exceed.

Th...

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When to Judge, or how Not to Judge (Matthew 7:1-6)

One of the outlooks of contemporary life is that everyone should be free to do what they want. A consequence has been that most people are aware of verse 1, whether or not they know that it comes from the Bible. It has become very difficult to say that certain activities are wrong, especially if they are not harming anyone else. We should not be...

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Putting God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33)

Worry becomes a problem when it prevents us from engaging in what should be our priority. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God must have priority in the outlook of his disciples. This means that they should obey his instructions. Here are four requirements that our King spells out for his followers.

The first requirement is that his disciples...

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Should we worry that we’re worried? (Matthew 6:25-34)

Jesus here is not speaking about legitimate concerns church leaders may have or parents may have or employers may have or governments may have. It is important for people to care about the influence of Christianity, about the future of their families, about finding areas of work, about the concerns of the government. 

Jesus asks his disciples...

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Storing heavenly riches (Matthew 6:19-24)

Jesus here teaches his disciples that they should engage in storing heavenly riches. How do they do so? A simple but correct answer would be to say that they engage in the various features that Jesus has already mentioned in this sermon on the mount. By doing them, his disciples will store up treasures in heaven. So we can think about that briefly.

...

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Priority (Matthew 6:19-24)

Often we discuss what are the biggest hindrances to authentic Christianity in our society. Answers range from secularism to alternative religions. In his Sermon on the Mount, what did Jesus say would be a hindrance to authentic discipleship? In the verses we are going to consider, he mentions a focus on accumulating possessions as being a...

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Five aspects of prayer (Matthew 6:9-15)

Jesus provides his disciples with a prayer that has five concerns and these are the details that he wants them to mention in their personal prayers. The concerns are praise of God, progress of his kingdom, provision of daily needs, pardon for our sins and protection from the devil.

The first feature in prayer should be praise of God, and here Jesus...

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Giving, Praying and Self-denial (Matthew 6:1-18)

It is possible to give to God’s cause in a mechanical way. The picture is of a disciple who spends time with God and then comes across someone in need and gives him something. I suspect that Jesus is indicating that when a disciple gives in this manner his giving will reflect the God who he has been with. Therefore, he will give graciously.

When...

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Living for God (Matthew 6:1-18)

Jesus refers three features of righteous living among the Jews – almsgiving, prayer and fasting. Of course, it is important to stress that Jesus here is referring to personal, voluntary expressions of those practices. 

The Saviour points out a basic principle connected to personal acts of discipleship. If we engage in them in order to get a...

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Responding to what Jesus said (Matthew 5:17-48)

There are several applications that we can make from this passage. The first concerns the authority of Jesus. He does not depend on the opinion of others. Instead he claims for himself full and final authority to say what the Word of God means. He does not offer suggestions, instead he provides the correct understanding regarding how the Lord...

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Responding to what Jesus said (Matthew 5:17-48)

There are several applications that we can make from this passage. The first concerns the authority of Jesus. He does not depend on the opinion of others. Instead he claims for himself full and final authority to say what the Word of God means. He does not offer suggestions, instead he provides the correct understanding regarding how the Lord...

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Love Your Enemies (Matthew 5:43-48)

The Old Testament does say that we should love our neighbours, but it does not say that we should hate our enemies. Of course, the enemies of Christians are not defined in the same way as enemies of Israel would have been. Enemies of Israel would usually be external to the country whereas the opponents of disciples could be within their own...

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Retaliation (Matthew 5:38-42)

Yesterday we thought about how Jesus applied the law of God to one’s inner attitudes of anger and of inappropriate thinking, and how such thoughts broke the sixth and seventh commandments. He also applied God’s demands in other ways as well, including retaliation.

Legally, it was appropriate to have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. If a...

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Christians and the law (1) (Matthew 5:17-36)

As Jesus explains the role of the law of God in the lives of his people, he contrasts his teaching with longstanding tradition when he uses the clause, ‘You have heard that it was said to those of old….’ It is likely that he is referring to some of the traditions followed by the Pharisees.

The sixth commandment
Tradition accepted that a murderer...

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Christian Righteousness (Matthew 5:17-37)

One issue that arose with the public ministry of the Saviour was what he taught about the law of God. It is obvious from the Gospel accounts that scribes and the Pharisees did not think that Jesus honoured the law. It is obvious too that Jesus did not think that they kept it. So there was a clear difference between them in that regard.

Jesus made...

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